The word 'garage' was first introduced to the English language in 1902, and the first overhead operating door was brought to life in the 1920's. Prior to these evolutions of language and innovation, carriage houses were used to shelter transportation of the time. Welcoming them home were swing doors. The structure and the doors performed the function just fine, but the interaction wasn't easy especially in geographical locations with cold and inclement weather for much of the year. But even though the effort required was an obstacle, no one can deny the classic beauty of these swing doors.
The introduction of the Model-T Ford and it's manufacturing lines drove a demand to change the way we enter the carriage house - or the garage as it became known. People enjoyed the ease of transit while in these new cars, and CG Johnson (the innovator of the overhead door) answered the call in 1921. Shortly after in 1924, our Great-Grandfather, Edward Fimbel Sr. who was a Millworker and making swing doors already, became the first to franchise the newly formed Overhead Door. If you are a history buff and want to catch up on all things Fimbel, please enjoy this timeline of the Fimbel family and this article (page 49) on our history!
Though we have progressed over the last century in our construction and materials, we are always proud to hang on to our roots. Today we offer the highest quality, customizable, and sustainable doors in the industry which are typically overhead operating, but we also still make swing doors in any of our Estate Collection offerings!
Swing doors are two slabs that hang vertically in either side of the framed opening. Oftentimes, authentic swing carriage doors are shown with the traditional x-bucks (considered 'barn' doors by many). Today we add carved design features and overlays in many configurations to add to the design, but fact remains the A-bucks, V-bucks, and Crossbucks (as the diagonal overlay design is called) were originally a core piece of the integrity and durability of the door to keep them from sagging in the opening. This is where the function of yesterday becomes the fashion of today! Our doors are built strong for durability but allow you to design to your heart's delight.
Originally, swing doors were operated manually, and they still can be today; however, current technology allows the push of a button to swing out (or in for those who choose) and welcome you to the shelter of the garage.
Whether it is an existing garage, barn, studio, or classic carriage house, or you are building a new one, you can bring the classic look and time tested quality of swing doors with the functions and innovative construction and materials of today. You can mix and match overhead and swing doors to allow the best of both worlds. As shown below and in the feature image, this family purchased a home with more garage bays than they had cars, so they converted the bay nearest the pool into their modified pool house. The sectional doors (there are two) on the left allow for cars, bikes, and life's needs while the swing door will welcome the playful children and sun-kissed adults with ease. You can watch the magic happen in the super quick video below!
The Estate Collection, truly welcomes the designer in all of us to emerge with the blend between tradition and innovation. Using a hand placed wood frame and nesting in our insulation, we laminate a vinyl back cover and a solid vinyl exterior that encases the face. This slab now becomes a blank slate to bring you more for your door.
Using both ⅜" and ¾" material, Versatex for unfinished doors and Tricoya for factory finished doors, we have options to add select profiles and nearly limitless designs to satisfy inspiration. These capabilities allow us to build the door in unique and custom sizes.
You will see these designs in our Euro-Dor and Presidential Series offering carriage, traditional, and modern styles. Offering profiles to meet your needs, these styles showcase deep raised panels and crafted designs to complement the architecture and aesthetics of your home.
To achieve a more classic carriage look, we offer the Roaring Twenties. This series starts with the same platform yet adds solid, study overlays pocketed (nested) into the face. The pronounced look of this classic style can be modified in myriad ways to satisfy decorative features and historical applications. Each of these series offers incredible longevity and beauty to satisfy.
Our door designs come to life in our sectional doors as well as our swing doors, so whichever functionality you prefer, we have the door for you!
Make it your own by choosing specialty glass for your garage door. With these options and many more, you can add style and details to your project while managing your privacy and the natural light you let in!
For a true carriage look, we offer a variety of options for decorative hardware. From strap hinges and pull handles to latches and clavos, you can further customize your door! Many standard kits are available, but the options are limitless!
With additional options for the interior of the garage door, you can customize with an interior backer to add to the aesthetics. Our interior grille inserts provide the look of true divided lites and classes up the glass.
Design with Us!
Bring the 19th and early 20th centuries back to life with a swing carriage house complimented by the modern operations and construction of today. To learn more about our products, head to our homepage to download our Product Guide that will walk you through the many options available in our Estate Collection Swing Doors!