A Brief History Of The Door

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Here at SLC we like to share our geeky interests and google research. Talking to customers and discussing door furniture choices has spurred me into some door history research this week....

Where there has been civilisation, there have been doors - for security, shelter from the elements and for privacy. In A Brief History Of The Door Handle I shared a quick time line of door history, but here's a little more info and some interesting snippets....

Ancient Era

Images that come to mind are of primitive shacks using animal hides and Egyptian tombs with chambers sealed off with heavy stone doors.

Egyptian pyramid

The stone doors were hinged on pivots (rather like a saloon door) and this type of structure has been found in ancient sites all over the world, from India to Cambodia.

Camobodian temple in tree roots


The Padmanabhaswamy Temple

In Kerala, India, this temple has an unopened door surrounded by sacred mystery. Legends say this door can only be opened by correctly chanting the Garuda Mantra. Without bolts or latches of any visible kind, the sealed doorway is protected by two stone cobras.

The Padmanabhaswamy Temple doors

If the door is opened by means other than the right sound waves of the chant, catastrophe will be unleashed, of an apocolyptic nature, not only over India, but the whole world. Sounds like the perfect Indiana Jones or Lara Croft film plot....but moving on...

What Did The Romans Ever Do For Us?

They made some pretty cool doors - folding doors, sliding doors - and their engineering innovation also created hinge designs that are still in use today.

Bronze, Iron and Gold

Metal doors or portcullis gates were often used in Medieval castles to provide extra security.

portcullis on castle medieval metal doors

Later, in the Renaissance, bronze was used by sculptors to create elaborate designs for door panels. The most famous of these are the South side doors of the Baptistry of San Giovanni. Made by Andrea Pisano, around 1330, the doors consist of 28 stunning panels depicting the life of St John.

San Giovanni Baptistry Doors, Florence

The Traditional Wooden Door

Historically, this is the most popular and versatile material choice for a door. Wooden doors have been in existence from the start of civilisation. According to the bible, King Solomon, the biblical Israelite King, had olive wood doors made for his Temple.

The ancient Egyptians also used wooden doors in their homes and temples.

In 2010, the oldest European wooden door ever found in Europe was unearthed in Zurich by archeologists. The boards are held in place with a remarkable design, according to acheologists, and hinges for fitting the door in place. The door dates back to appromimately the same time as the construction of Stonehenge began.


Next, I will take a look at modern door styles and the options we have available for our homes. See you then!

Thanks to Shutterstock & Pixaby for the fabulous photos with credit to: @naszymokiem for the Cambodian Temple photo and @alifoudhegazy for the Egyptian Pyramid photo.






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