Doors are often taken for granted. They lock tight to provide security, plus keep out the weather. The front door of our home makes a first statement to everyone who visits. We decorate them for the holidays and adorn them with various trinkets.
Our doors have been used over the centuries to announce special occasions such as weddings, births or funerals. Here are a few surprising facts about doors. These interesting tidbits about doors may help provide us with a better appreciation of an under-appreciated part of our home.
Yes, the first month of the Gregorian calendar year has its roots in doors. The month itself is named for the God of Doors. It symbolizes both new beginnings, plus openings to new and freshly exciting things. January as the first month of a new year is like a door to new and exciting things ahead.
Roman God Janus
The month was named for the Roman God Janus. Janus signified both beginnings and endings. Legend has it that this is where the idea for doors to swing in came from. Romans designed their front doors in such a manner as to be welcoming to Janus and a hope for prosperity.
Dreams and Doors
Those who analyze dreams insist that doors in our dreams present specific meanings. An open door indicates some kind of new beginning about to transpire. The alternative is a door shutting as an indication of something that’s about to end. Motion picture directors have frequently used doors as symbolic of a character going into a dream state.
Dead as a Door Nail
As cliché, this phrase has a few unflattering meanings. It can indicate a rather boring personality, or the fact that someone is deceased. The best association would indicate the latter to be most likely the truth in relation to a door.
Ancient doors were made of wood and attached using a process called dead nailing. The nails were bent over, so they wouldn’t come out. These nails were referred to as dead, therefore the saying, “dead as a doornail.”
Deadbolt the Door
Deadbolts on doors are common today. However, there is strong evidence that the concept was devised more than 4,000 years ago by the Egyptians. There have been archaeological discoveries that found deadbolt-like tumblers leading into Egyptian tombs. It took more than four millennia before Linus Hale Jr. patented his first deadbolt in 1861.
The World’s Biggest Door
The tallest door in the world is actually 150 feet taller than the Statue of Liberty. There is a double swinging door outside the vehicle assembling building at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. The doors are so massive it takes nearly an hour to open and close them.
The World’s Oldest Door
Many accounts attribute the first doors to ancient Egypt. However, in 2010, archaeologists unearthed what most insist is the oldest actual door ever found. It came from the Neolithic period some 5,000 years ago. The door was discovered in Europe and dates back to 3,063 BC.
A Door of a Different Color
Today we paint our doors appealing colors as a visual attraction to our homes. However, in Ireland at the turn of the 20th century, the color of doors had an interesting and symbolic meaning. Queen Victoria died in 1901.
While her loyal subjects painted their doors black in honor of the Queen, she was not dear to everyone’s heart. It’s said that many Irish painted their doors flamboyant colors out of defiance towards royal rule. Door color represented rebellion.
Posted on the Door
For centuries, front doors to churches, schools and government buildings were like billboards. Without the convenience of many of today’s modern forms of communication, doors were the place where all things community was posted.
One of the most famous things ever posted on any door was nailed to the front door of the All Saints’ Church in Wittenberg, Germany. It was to this door that Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses, a document that altered world religion.
Church doors announced all sorts of local events, including community spectacles such as hangings and floggings. If we wanted to know what was going on around town, all we needed to do was check out any of the prominent doors in the community.
Doors offer so much, some doors are symbolic fixtures which signify optimism and new opportunity. They communicate both beginnings and endings. Doors have come a long way since they were little more than a piece of wood hinged to the front of a home. These are some fun facts about doors and their historical significance over the centuries.