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The Origins of the Modern Garage

modern garage

A short history of garages

You cannot tell the story of the modern garage in North America without also telling the story of the car that goes in it. From humble origins as a makeshift space for enthusiasts, to an integral part of many houses, the look and function of the garage has changed with the average North American family’s needs.

The origins of the modern garage

Steam engines that powered boats and trains had been around since the eighteenth century, but it wasn’t until much later that engines became efficient, safe and cheap enough to be mounted on a carriage to transport individuals or small groups over land.

In their early years in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, cars were expensive novelties and only the wealthy or motivated enthusiasts owned them. There were no auto mechanics or gas stations then so if you owned a car, you had to take care of its maintenance. To have enough room for all the equipment that went into car maintenance, cars were usually stored with the horses in barns separate from the main house. These structures typically were made of wood and had outwardly swinging double doors.

Post-war prosperity

Mass-produced cars really began in 1908 with the Ford Model T. The ‘Tin Lizzie,’ as it was nicknamed, was relatively cheap, easy to use, and reliable. Just forty years later, the car had largely replaced the horse as a means of transportation for average families. After The Second World War, North America experienced great economic success and many more people than ever started owning houses and cars. Some people were able to move out of the city to the suburbs, and began commuting longer distances to work. Highway systems were built across North America to accommodate the growing number of cars on the road.

The car became more than just another way of getting around. Having a car and a garage became an essential part of modern life in North America. Just as the car became more important, the garage became a more elaborate and integrated part of people’s homes. Rather than a separate barn to house your car, garages attached to homes became popular after The Second World War. The old double doors of the barn were cumbersome and required a lot of maintenance. Modern homes that used their cars every day needed new garage doors that opened overhead to save space. Similarly, electric openers became popular to save time and effort.

Modern garage doors

Today, attached garages have become the primary means for many people to enter and exit their homes, and garages are just as important and stylish as any other part of the home. With modern innovations, the garage door has come a long way since the traditional old wood barn. Now, garage doors are made of metal or durable plastic and have complex technology to help control their movement with customizable features such as offered by Hunter Overhead Doors.

At Hunter Overhead Doors, we are here to help with purchasing door openers or door parts or looking for garage door or garage opener repairs or installation in the Parksville, Nanaimo or Comox areas. Contact us today to find out more about our services.


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