National Automatic Door Day is celebrated on March 19 every year. Doors are the (safe and entertaining) gateway to all sorts of places, so it’s only fitting that we celebrate the mighty automatic door on this day. As the name signifies, this day is to celebrate the automated doorways that guard the entrance to multiple places — hospitals, buildings and malls being some of them. Another aim of this day — unite manufacturers and others across the automatic door industry.
History of National Automatic Door Day
The Ancient Greeks didn’t just give us the Olympics — they also gifted the world with automatic doors. At least this is what historians believe. According to them, Greek mathematician and engineer Heron of Alexandria wrote about an automatic door-adjacent mechanism that was used to open up temple gates sometime around the 1st century A.D. According to descriptions in Heron’s books — named “Pneumatica” — the mechanism used heat from fires to build pressure in brass vessels. This pressure forced water from one container into an adjacent one, simultaneously tugging on attached ropes and pulleys to open up the temple doors to which this whole contraption was attached, that too just in time for prayers. Heron also apparently used this mechanism to open up city gates.
Quite a while later — in the 17th century, to be exact — Emperor Yang of Sui constructed a foot sensor-activated automatic door in the royal library, according to historian Joseph Needham’s book, “Science and Civilization in China,” written in 1986.
It was only in the 20th century that the world got its first real automatic doors. This invention began with American engineers Horace Raymond and Sheldon Roby, who designed an automatic door in 1931. This device was later installed in Wilcox’s Pier Restaurant in Connecticut, U.S., and would open for waiters carrying plates of food and drink.
Still, the world recognizes American engineers Dee Horton and Lew Hewitt as the brains behind today’s automatic doors. Their invention, created in 1954, used sensors hidden inside mats on the floor to ‘tell’ the doors someone was about to enter, and voila! The doors would open automatically. By 1960, these doors had entered the commercial market and eventually became more and more common. Large banks, hotels, and various public buildings began using automatic doors.
Innovation marked the next few decades — motion sensors were invented, low-energy doors came around, access doors now took into account access for disabled people, and automatic doors went global. Automatic doors are everywhere around us now, opening and closing to safely permit or eject people from various buildings.
National Automatic Door Day timeline
A dystopian sci-fi novel, “The Sleeper Awakes,” by H.G. Wells, talks about an “apparently solid wall” that “rolled up with a snap” to allow two characters access before closing again.
In “Sliding Doors,” a dual timeline explores what happens when the lead character pushes her way through the automatic sliding doors of the London tube train and what happens if she doesn't.
The American Association of Automatic Door Manufacturers (A.A.A.D.M.) establishes National Automatic Door Day, which is held on March 19 of every subsequent year.
The International Building Code (I.B.C.) says public entrances in all facilities — from restaurants to college dormitories — must have an automated door.
National Automatic Door Day FAQs
Is there a National Window Day?
There is a National Window Safety Week in the first full week of March.
What are automatic doors called?
Automatic doors are also sometimes known as ‘auto doors.’ The various types of automatic doors — sliding, folding, swinging — have their names in each sub-category.
How much does it cost to put in an automatic door?
Putting in an automatic door in 2020 costs $2,122.80 on average in the U.S. The costs range anywhere between $1,500 to $3,000, depending on the size of the installation and other features.
National Automatic Door Day Activities
Read up on automatic doors
There's plenty of fun information about the automatic door, from its conception in Ancient Greece to its current 21st-century version. Check out books or online literature to learn more about this incredible invention.
Catalogue automatic doors near you
When was the last time you noticed that automatic door that you walked through? Do you remember how many commercial buildings around you have this feature? Spend a moment remembering these doors, and maybe take note of how they function the next time you pass through one.
Spread the word
Now that you've got a list of places near you with automatic doors, how about spending some time convincing those without automatic doors to put in these contraptions? Check out online how best to proceed with this task, and you can even approach your community leaders for help.
5 Fun Facts About Automatic Doors
The American preference
A company called “ASSA ABLOY Entrance Systems” conducted a survey in 2020 that showed 68% of Americans prefer going to places with automatic doors.
Three types of automatic doors
The main types of automatic doors include sliding doors, swinging doors, and folding doors.
Making a safety record
Reportedly, automated doors make around 50 billion safe (and automatic) openings and closings each year in the U.S., boasting a very strong safety performance.
A giant automatic door
This humongous door — located in Mexico — goes all the way around a house.
Automatic doors save energy too
Since they limit the time doors stay open, they help buildings maintain their temperature and save up on energy costs, studies prove.
Why We Love National Automatic Door Day
Automatic doors promote equality
They provide equal access to people with mobility problems or other disabilities, ensuring all people get equal opportunities to use commercial buildings.
They are safer
The touch-free environment they create means much fewer germs and viruses get transferred, helping prevent people from falling sick.
It's a great reminder
Every time we celebrate National Automatic Door Day, we are reminded about the sheer wonderfulness that is the automatic door.
National Automatic Door Day dates