Commercial overhead garage doors have only been around since the turn of  the 20th century. However, the idea, concept, and function of a “garage” and its “garage door” have been a part of human history that spans millennia. As early as the 4th millennium B.C. wheeled vehicles such as carriages and chariots were stored in “garages” and secured behind “garage doors”. Though these early “garages” looked very different from our modern versions, they still preformed the exact same basic function….vehicle storage and protection. Early “garage doors” were also expected to protect these vehicles from damage, sabotage, and theft.

As the design and usage of vehicles evolved, so too did “garages” and “garage doors”. By colonial times, carriage houses or coach houses came into prominence, along with their carriage style doors. The Victorian era saw the addition of the now nostalgic strap hinges and Z or X designs to prevent the doors from sagging. The word “garage”, taken from a French verb that means “to cover” or “to shelter”, did not appear until 1902 just before Henry Ford began mass producing his automobiles. It was around this time the old carriage or coach house doors began to quickly fall out of favor. They were hard to open in heavy snow, tended to wear out quickly, and detach from their hinges.

Commercial Overhead Garage Doors: Innovation and Evolution

The first overhead type garage door appeared in the Sweet’s Catalogue in 1906. This early overhead door was made from wood and operated using a single counterbalance weight. These “cross horizontal folding door(s)” or “cross compound slide up door(s)” as they were called were advertised as appropriate for not only garages, but also stables, freight houses, platforms, piers, and warehouses.

Commercial Overhead Garage Doors Arm-R-Lite InnovationThese commercial overhead garage doors evolved quickly as materials expanded to include not only wood, but steel, aluminum, and vinyl as well. The next evolutionary jump took place in 1958 when Arm-R-Lite began fabricating welded aluminum and glass doors. Unlike the thru-bolted construction of their contemporaries, Arm-R-Lite’s welded commercial overhead garage doors never sagged and could perform for decades longer than the thru-bolted models.

Commerical Overhead Garage Doors - ADA Pedestrian Door by Arm-R-LiteOver the next half century, Arm-R-Lite has added significantly to the evolution of modern commercial overhead garage doors by offering innovative and exclusive options for our welded doors. Polyurethane insulated aluminum overhead doors, 1” thick insulated glazing, acoustical / sound reducing options, crank-out windows, ADA compliant walk-thru doors, and near limitless design customization for rail and stile placements are the most recent industry contributions Arm-R-Lite has added. As the application type and use of commercial overhead garage doors continues to grow and change, Arm-R-Lite will continue to push the envelope in innovation and design with our exclusive welded construction.

If you are interested in Arm-R-Lite’s commercial overhead garage doors, please feel free to visit our commercial models page. You can also click here to submit a quote request for pricing on our commercial overhead garage doors.