To write an all encompassing article on the history of doors, you’d probably need volumes and volumes. So summing up the history of one of the most useful inventions man has ever invented in a short article such as this one is no easy task. However, despite the myriad different types of door which have evolved in different ways in different cultures from the same initial concept, there are many factors that all doors still share.
Compare a late Tudor door design with a Japanese Shoji sliding door, and you’ll probably notice a whole bunch of differences. Clearly there has been enough time since the invention of the first door for designs to vary as much as these do. In the west, doors are mainly hinge based barriers, as opposed to the sliding design so popular in the far east.
Doors were almost certainly first invented for safety. Whether it was laying a few rocks in front of a cave or covering the opening of a hut with a large slab of lumber, doors are primarily practical, and it is only since we have eliminated most of our natural predators that doors have become a vent of culture as well. Although most doors are still used for protection, they are also used for aesthetic purposes, especially in grand buildings with elaborate architecture.
Now as we progress deeper into a new millennium, automatic sliding doors are becoming more commonplace, revolving doors have long since stopped being a novelty, and household doors are more sturdy and better at protecting their occupants than ever before. As architecture and technology continue to intertwine, how will doors be affected? No doubt we can expect increasing amounts of efficiency, but what about the cultural, aesthetic sides? When all the world’s buildings are fitted with the exact same, automatic yet highly secure doors, they might have increased in efficiency, but any cultural implications will be left to doors of past years.