Where Did Automatic Doors Come From?

Where Did Automatic Doors Come From?

Automatic doors are everywhere, from your local supermarket, the bank and shopping mall to schools and hospitals. They are incredibly convenient and give the illusion of being simple technology when in fact they are quite complex. Have you ever wondered how the idea came about?

You may be surprised to find out that automatic doors actually originated in ancient Greece. Greek mathematician, Heron of Alexandria, invented an automatic door system using a series of ropes and pulleys. Water was heated by a large fire and pumped into containers which activated the opening system. That is recognized as the first example of an early automated door.

Automatic doors didn’t resurface again until the 20th century. In 1931, two American engineers, Horace H. Raymond and Sheldon S. Roby, designed a primitive version of an optical sensor/ device to open a door automatically. The invention was installed in Wilcox’s Pier Restaurant to help waiters carrying plates and glasses. After that…it’s not until 1954, during a period of post-war optimism, another pair of Americans, Dee Horton and Lew Hewitt invented the first automatic doors operated by mat actuators. Mat actuators use a hidden electronic system inside the door mat. When someone stands on the mat the door automatically opens. They became increasingly popular throughout the 1960s with automatic sliding doors being installed in many public buildings such as banks, hotels, and shopping centres.

During the 1970s, significant scientific strides were made with the invention of motion sensors. These sensors were used to actuate the opening of automatic doors. This technology triggered a boom in popularity with automatic doors, helping to provide disabled access and opening up buildings using contactless technology on a grand scale. By the 1980s, automatic revolving doors were released and motion detectors became increasingly common for automatic sliding doors. In the 1990s, automatic folding doors were invented and active infrared sensors became the standard activation method.

In today’s fast paced and high-tech society, automatic doors have become a common sight on commercial buildings across the globe. It’s undeniable that they are incredibly convenient for shoppers, disabled persons and people on the go. B & B Rolling Door Company has been servicing, maintaining and installing automatic doors expertly since 1986. Call our experienced team for any needs you may have related to automatic doors.