The Fascinating Evolution Of The Residential Garage

When most people think about their garage, it is either a place to store their vehicles or store their excess stuff. One rarely looks at their garage and thinks about how the concept came to be. Whether it is the advent of different styles of garage doors or the creation of the garage door opener, the residential garage has come a long way in its 80+ year history. The evolution of the modern-day residential garage is actually quite fascinating, and you might be surprised at how the concept of your current garage came to be.

Humble Beginnings

In the early 20th century, cars were not very popular. In fact, they were seen as a luxury item. Only the super rich could afford them. As time went on and after the Federal Road Act in 1916 was passed, cars became a lot more popular.

At this point, the idea of a garage had not been invented. People that had purchased cars would store them in their carriage houses where they would normally have stored their horses and carriages. These carriage houses were basically just barns. As with any barn, these carriage houses were equipped with large, cumbersome barn doors that had to be manually opened and closed. The first ever "garage" was a very tedious addition to a home.

First Technological Advancements

After the Federal Highway Act of 1921, it was almost standard for individuals to own cars. This coupled with the fact that C.G. Johnson developed the first overhead garage door in 1921 made driving and storing vehicles a lot easier for everyone. Johnson would not be outdone. The beauty of the overhead door was that it operated on a set of metal tracks and wheels. The door would open up vertically and fold parallel to the ceiling of the garage, saving a lot of space that traditional doors would take up.

In 1926, he invented the first ever electronic garage door opener. This was a tremendous help for elderly citizens and any people that had trouble lifting the overhead garage door manually. This was an expensive addition to a garage, but it was a big deal nonetheless.

This was also around the time that garages started to become incorporated in the structure of a home itself, rather than a carriage house off to the side.

Safety and the Modern-Day Garage

As homes began to get bigger and bigger, garages had to be fitted to adapt. Through the middle of the 20th century, garages expanded within homes. Around about 1970, it was extremely uncommon for a residential home to be without a garage. This also coincided with popularity of automatic garage door openers. The technology had advanced, and people loved the idea of opening their garage from their vehicle. If it was raining outside, one didn't have to get wet.

The problem with the initial popularity of automatic garage door openers is that they were not very safe. There was no mechanism preventing the door from stopping without pressing the button. It was estimated that about 85 children suffered brain damage between 1974 and 1995 due to automatic garage door openers. This caused the Consumer Product Safety Commission to issue a law in 1993 that stated all garage doors must have motion sensors to detect objects under the doors.

The modern-day garage is equipped with all kinds of benefits that were thought insane in the past. You can have a climate controlled garage, turn your garage into a man cave, and even open up your garage doors with just a tap on your smartphone. No more garage door openers required.

As you can see, the residential garage has come a long way. What was once a simple shed for storing vehicles and property is now a technologically advanced area that serves many different purposes. It almost makes one wonder what the future garage adaptations will be as technology continues to progress. Click here for info on modern garage doors and how to properly maintain them.