Who Invented the Automatic Door

Who Invented the Automatic Door?

Automatic doors have become a ubiquitous feature in our daily lives, making our entry and exit from buildings more convenient and efficient. But have you ever wondered who invented these marvelous contraptions? Let’s delve into the history of automatic doors and discover the brilliant minds behind their creation.

The concept of automatic doors dates back centuries, with ancient civilizations devising various mechanisms to ease the process of entering and exiting buildings. However, the modern automatic door, as we know it today, owes its existence to the clever inventions of two pioneering engineers.

1. Dee Horton: In 1954, Dee Horton, an American engineer, is widely recognized as the inventor of the automatic sliding door. He developed the concept while working at the company Horton Automatics. Horton’s invention utilized a combination of sensors, motors, and pulleys to create a mechanism that allowed doors to open and close automatically.

2. Lew Hewitt: Another key figure in the development of automatic doors is Lew Hewitt, a Canadian engineer. Hewitt invented the first automatic swing door in 1960. His design incorporated a pneumatic system that employed air pressure to open and close the doors smoothly and effortlessly.

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Together, Horton and Hewitt revolutionized the way we interact with doors, paving the way for the widespread adoption of automatic doors in various settings, including hospitals, shopping malls, airports, and supermarkets.


1. Are automatic doors safe to use?
Yes, automatic doors are designed with safety in mind. They are equipped with sensors that detect the presence of a person or object in the door’s path, ensuring it does not close on anyone or anything.

2. How do automatic doors work?
Automatic doors operate using a combination of sensors, motors, and control systems. Sensors detect the presence of a person or object, signaling the motor to open or close the door accordingly.

3. Can automatic doors be manually operated?
Yes, most automatic doors have a manual override option. In the event of a power outage or other emergencies, a manual release mechanism allows users to open or close the doors manually.

4. Are automatic doors energy-efficient?
Yes, automatic doors are designed to be energy-efficient. They often incorporate features such as low-energy mode, which reduces power consumption during periods of low traffic.

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5. Can automatic doors be installed in existing buildings?
Yes, automatic doors can be retrofitted into existing buildings. However, it is essential to consult with professionals to assess the feasibility and ensure compliance with building codes and regulations.

6. Do automatic doors require regular maintenance?
Yes, like any mechanical system, automatic doors require regular maintenance to ensure optimal performance. Routine inspections, lubrication of moving parts, and sensor calibration are essential for their smooth operation.

7. Are automatic doors accessible for individuals with disabilities?
Yes, automatic doors greatly enhance accessibility for individuals with disabilities. They eliminate the need for physical exertion and allow easy entry and exit, contributing to a more inclusive environment.

In conclusion, the invention of the automatic door has revolutionized the way we navigate public spaces, making our lives more convenient and accessible. Thanks to the ingenuity of engineers like Dee Horton and Lew Hewitt, these remarkable devices have become an integral part of modern architecture. So, the next time you walk through an automatic door, take a moment to appreciate the brilliance behind its invention.

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