Automatic door

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
A pair of automatic doors

An automatic door, also known as an auto door, is a door that opens automatically, without the need for human intervention[1] or usually upon sensing the approach of a person. A person can be detected by microwave pulses, infrared sensors , or pressure-sensing pads.[2]


In the 1st century AD, mathematician Heron of Alexandria in Roman Egypt invented the first known automatic door. He described two different automatic door applications. The first application used heat from a fire lit by the city's temple priest. After a few hours atmospheric pressure built up in a brass vessel causing it to pump water into adjacent containers. These containers acted as weights that – through a series of ropes and pulleys – would open the temple's doors at about the time people were to arrive for prayer. Heron used a similar application to open the gates to the city.[3]

In 1931, engineers Horace H. Raymond and Sheldon S. Roby of the tool and hardware manufacturer Stanley Works designed the first model of an optical device triggering the opening of an automatic door. The invention was patented and installed in Wilcox's Pier Restaurant in West Haven, Connecticut for the benefit of waiters carrying plates of food and drink. The entire system plus installation was sold for $100.[4][5]

In 1954, Dee Horton and Lew Hewitt invented the first sliding automatic door. The automatic door used a mat actuator. In 1960, they co-founded Horton Automatics Inc and placed the first commercial automatic sliding door on the market.[6]

With the invention of the Gunn diode, microwave motion detectors became common in automatic doors in the 1970s.[7][8] In 1980, the first automatic door using an infrared sensor was introduced.[9]

In popular culture[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Automatic Doors London & Shop Front Doors | Automaticdoorstore". Automatic Doors Repair. Retrieved 2023-07-18.
  2. ^ "How do Automatic Doors Work? - DT Services Ltd". 2022-01-15. Retrieved 2023-02-02.
  3. ^ "10 Things We Wouldn't Have Without Ancient Greece".
  4. ^ "Axis Automatic Entrance Systems - Automatic and manual doors" (PDF).
  5. ^ "The Magic-Eye Sliding Doors". 29 June 2010.
  6. ^ "10 inventions that began life as science fiction".
  7. ^ The Gunn Diode Oscillator Lives On…and Prospers
  8. ^ A Brief History of Mechanical Engineering
  9. ^ OPTEX celebrates 40 years of sensor innovation and development in 2019

Automatic Garage Door