Wood Doors: Fashion And History

Doors have been around for centuries in one form or another. As mats woven from reeds or other grasses and as animal skin flaps hanging over the doorway, they have separated the outside world from the inside in homes around the world. No one knows when the first wood doors made an appearance. They came into existence without fanfare, like all the other doors, but evolved over time to provide more than security and separation for residences and other structures.

The Early Wood Doors

One of the earliest wood doors was not, as you might presume, a solid slab placed in an entryway. The first commonly-available door was the batten door. It was popular among all classes. Throughout the United Kingdom and Europe, batten doors made an appearance on even the finest homes by the 14th century. In Renaissance Italy, double batten doors guarded the city gates and a few regal homes. Farmers adapted the double batten to use in their barns.

Wood Doors

Panel Wood DoorsYet, the rule of the batten door ended with the rise of the panel door. Panel wood doors –still the most common door at Nick’s– became the norm in many wealthier homes. In Georgian England, raised paneling was popular with chamfering stiles, mullions and rails. Together with moldings of clamshells, scoops and quarter-rounds, they created a decorative effect heightened by the variety of panel shapes. Like today’s doors, people could purchase rectangular, square, circular or teardrop shapes.

In Regency England, the gentry preferred panel wood doors to any other type. They added glass in a fanlight transom to enhance the beauty of their doors and entryways. The wealthy Victorians preferred to add a frieze pane in the top of their wood doors, therefore creating a window within the door itself. The window became an integral part of many exterior doors with glazed doors becoming more common as technology permitted the work to be done without affecting the integrity of the door.

The 1800s also laid the path towards mass consumerism. Industrial milling introduced technology that was to have a major effect on the production of doors. The machinery simplified and sped up the production methods, establishing the basics for what Nick’s has today. Still, the style of panel doors continued to evolve as, over the centuries, various movements produced their own concept of or type of door. The Arts & Crafts Movement, for example, spawned several related styles. Among them were the Mission and the Craftsman Styles. After both World Wars, standardization of panels and improved glues resulted in savings among manufacturers and suppliers in both time and money. Consumers also reaped the benefits.

Today’s Wood Doors

Today, at Nick’s, we offer our clients the best, high-quality products. They represent the finest available panel doors from the various movements and stylistic developments. While some may offer a variety of different materials, at Nick’s we understand the history behind and the true value of our classically-crafted and modernly-produced wood doors. Visit nicksbuilding.com for more information.