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The History of Doors: Since Stone Age until Now

The History of Doors: Since Stone Age until Now
calendarNovember 6, 2023

Have you ever wondered about how doors were invented? 

As one of the components of a home, which is a primary human need, the invention of doors has been going on for a long time.
In fact, the history of doors was already recorded in the early age of humanity. So, doors already existed in the Stone Age.
However, even though the function of the doors is still the same, the doors that you know today are very different from the doors in ancient times. 

Overall, the type of doors was not the same. So does the materials that they used to make them. Below here, you can read about how doors evolve! 

The Existence of Doors in the Stone Age

When talking about human history, it is not complete without mentioning The Stone Age. It is the oldest and the longest period in humanity. 

This era lasted for millions of years, starting from 3.4 million B.C. to 4000 B.C. At that time, humans were still learning about literally anything. 

It included making shelters.
Because its history in this period is too long, historians classify the Stone Age into three eras. 

You know them as Paleolithic, Mesolithic, and also Neolithic. Here is the history of how doors were invented in those eras!

In the early years of the Stone Age, which is called Paleolitikum, people still lived a nomadic life. They do not have a permanent home because they keep moving around. Starting from Africa, the early humans began to spread worldwide for millions of years. So, doors did not exist yet in this era. 


After millions of years, people began to adopt a semi-nomadic lifestyle. To be precise in the Mesolithic Era, around 10000 B.C. to 8000 B.C. They lived in a cave for a while before moving on to other caves. However, they still did not need doors at that time. So, doors also did not exist yet in this era.

The emergence of doors was just seen in the Neolithic era, which was starting from 8000 B.C. to 2200 B.C. At that time, most people started to leave the nomadic lifestyle and start settling in one place. So, it is only natural that the oldest door in the world was created in this era because people already have a home.
In 2010, some archaeologists found the oldest door in Europe, to be precise in Zurich. They said that the door was made in 3063 B.C. So, that means its age is around 5000 years old. If you are curious about what doors were invented for, the ancient Swiss made them to protect themselves from the cold air. 

The archeologist believes at least five Neolithic villages are on the site where the door was found. It was made from poplar wood, so it was also recorded in the history of wooden doors. Besides the ancient Swiss, other early civilizations also used wood as the main material to make doors at that time.

Not only in Europe, the history of how doors emerge also happened in Asia around the same time. The archeologist found an ancient door in India.

No one knows who invented the door and when it was made. But Hinduism already existed when the ancient Indians made the door. 
Maybe, some doors are older than these historic doors. However, archaeologists might have difficulty finding it because people used to make it from wood, which was brittle and easily rotted at that time.

Keys and Locks in Neolithic Era

At that time, some civilians, like the ancient Egyptians also already knew about locks and how to use them since 4000 B.C.

[3] However, how doors were locked in ancient times was so different from how it looks today. The ancient Egyptians used an entire wood as a lock, and it was so fragile and breakable. 

The Existence of Doors in the Bronze Age

While some civilizations are still in the Neolithic Era, some others are already entering the Bronze Age. It started around 3300 B.C. to 1200 B.C. when people began to recognize metal as a tool, especially bronze. 

However, the usage of bronze as the raw material for doors was still not popular.

Some civilizations still use wood for their doors. Some of them also used stone as the main material for the door, for example, in ancient Egypt. However, the use of stone for the doors is slightly different because they used it for tombs and temples. For residential areas such as homes, they still use wooden doors.
So, even though people started to make tools from metal, people still are not using them to make doors yet. You can only find the recorded history of the usage of bronze on doors in the Classical Era. So, how old doors were made is still the same as doors in the Stone Age. There is no development yet. 

Doors in the Classical Era

People started to develop doors in the Classical Era. It happened around the 7th century B.C. to the fifth century C.E. At that time, people started to make doors with other materials aside from wood. 

For example, the Pantheon Door was found in the Roman Pantheon. The Romans made it from bronze. 

However, at that time, wooden doors were generally still more popular than the metal ones. 

The reason is that wood is cheap, and metals are not. The amount of metal is also still not that much if you compare it to today. So, most people only use it for urgent matters. Metal doors are definitely not a priority. 

The usage of any other metal for door materials was also still not popular at that time. You cannot find iron doors or steel doors yet in the Classical Era. 

This also applied to Rome, which was the most advanced civilization at that time. There are some bronze doors, but still not that much.
However, in some other areas, the archaeologists still have not found any traces of metal doors from this era. Maybe it really does not exist. 

Or perhaps these metal doors, especially bronze, also exist in other civilizations all over the world, but the archaeologists still haven't found them yet.
Interestingly, it is not only the materials that are developing but also the door mechanisms. In this era, a mathematician and an engineer from Greece started to invent automatic doors in the 1st century C.E.
So, if you want to know about which country invented automatic doors, it was Greece. The ancient Greeks used a hydraulic system to open the doors automatically.

The Invention of Metals Keys and Locks

Also, for your information, the first metal locks also appeared in this era. According to the history of locks, the first civilization who made keys and locks was the ancient Romans. 

They made it around the 1st millennium B.C.

They started using metal locks to replace wooden ones because they were stronger.
However, some people also believe that the inventor of metal locks is an English craftsman who started to make metal locks for doors from 870 C.E. to 900 C.E. So, it happened around the Medieval Age and not the Classical one.
At that time, people started to use locks and keys not only for doors but also to protect all their boxes of treasures.

Doors in the Medieval Era

When the world entered the Medieval Era, the doors increasingly developed. People are starting to apply a lot of creativity when making doors, such as drawing and engraving on doors. 

So, it is not only functional and practical but also has artistic and aesthetic values like the doors that you know today. 

People started to make different styles of doors and make them more beautiful. 

Although there are several cultures that have been doing it since a long time ago, like the Indians, the trend of engraving on doors became more advanced in this era. Because, at that time, people really appreciated cultures and arts.
The ancient people started to craft and engrave ornaments that were affiliated with their social status, hierarchy in society, and religion. They also added an artistic door knocker ornament around that period. 

They made it from heavy metal and have various designs, such as humans and animals.
As for today, door knockers are not that popular anymore. You can only find it in some countries, such as England. However, if you are curious about who started knocking on doors, it was ancient Egypt. 

The use of door materials also began to develop in this era. 

The reason is because the British already know how to make glasses. However, the existence of glass doors is still not common in this era. Common people still mainly use wooden doors, and some nobles already use metal doors, especially bronze. 

In general, the history of ancient doors in Asia (especially East Asia) and North Africa (especially the Middle East) is a little different around that time. In the Middle East, people use wood, bronze, and iron for the doors' materials. Meanwhile, in East Asia, people use wood and thick paper as the materials. 

Doors in the Early Modern Era

After the Medieval Era ended in the 16th century, there were many changes in society. 

The civilizations kept developing, starting from arts and culture and education to industrial activities. 

This clearly has a big impact on the development of doors in society around the Early Modern Era. 

Due to the development of arts and culture, there are many craftsmen who make doors look more elegant and beautiful. Then, as there were more and more scholars, the development of door technology became more advanced. 

Also, the Industrial Revolution made the doors industry keep growing. 

In the 18th century, you did not need to use a hydraulic system to open the door automatically anymore. This is because people already invented a foot sensor door. 

It is what doors did look like in the 1700s, especially in ancient China. They use it in a library so people can open the doors easily when they bring books. 

Then, in the 19th century, scholars started to invent the revolving doors that you usually see in some office buildings or shopping centers. 

They made it so it became more efficient when opening the doors. However, there is a rumor that the designer of revolving doors despises the gentlemen's culture. 

Doors in the Modern Era

Basically, the Early Modern Era ended in the 19th century. After that, society came to a different era, that is, the Modern Era, which still happening today. 

So, in general, the doors are the same as the doors that you know today. In this era, the style of doors became more varied and more advanced. 

The history of modern doors started when people invented polymer and fiberglass. So, people not only use wood, metals, and glass to make doors. They also make polymer doors and fiberglass doors. 

So, there are many cheaper alternatives for people who cannot afford to buy wooden doors or metal doors. 

At the end of the 20th century, people invented the Internet, which changed all aspects of their lives. The advent of the Internet has also influenced the door manufacturing industry.

In this era, people are no longer opening automatic doors by using foot sensors because they use the Internet for that.
However, not all doors can be opened automatically. You have to install digital locks to be able to do that. The good news is many companies are starting to make digital locks with good qualities. 

This kind of lock offers convenience, efficiency, and extra security.
So, in the history of doors, the emergence of digital locks is very important for society. Especially in the digital revolution era that is happening today. 

For those of you who want to install digital locks at your home, Hoz has a special offer for you. So, you can immediately visit Hoz now!



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