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Everything You Should Know About Doors

Jun 6, 2008
Doors have been in use for thousands of years. The earliest recorded evidence of doors in use was in the Egyptian tombs. Single pieces of thick wood were used as doors and were used to cover the entrance to the tombs. These doors would be dragged out of the way so that the tomb could be entered. In hot and dry countries such as Egypt there was less worry about whether or not the door would warp and misshape and as a result there was no necessity to frame the doors.

The earliest recognition of doors that resemble those that we use today was found in King Solomon's temple. These doors made use of a hanging stile and a wooden frame that was filled in with panels of wood. This meant that the door could be hung in a conventional sense. The doors at King Solomon's Mine were made out of olive wood and many doors around this time were cased in silver or brass.

Many doors which have been discovered by archaeologists are made out of rock. These doors work on a similar system of sockets that slot into the sill. This system worked as the sill was made of a hard stone such as a granite or basalt with the socket comprising of a softer stone. Doors from the Nippur area of southern India date back to around 2000 years BC.

Similar doors from Balawat were covered in bronze and are held in the British Museum. The Hauran area in Syria had many stone doors and there were examples of these being used as double doors in a similar way to which double doors are used today. Subsequently the greek and romans developed doors that closed in many different ways. There is evidence of single doors, folding doors, sliding doors and double doors.

The folded doors that were found in the Greek and Roman times were hinged in a number of places so that they could be folded back. The history of doors is even recorded in the pictures and paintings that have been found in ancient tombs. A picture of a door has been found in Eumachia, in the tomb of Theron in Agrigentum and a bas relief of a temple with double doors can be seen in the Blundell collection.

One of the most prestigious and well known doors is the door of the church of the nativity in Bethlehem. These doors are covered with bronze plates and these bronze plates are decorated with patterns. The doors from the Hagia Sofia mosque in Istanbul are wrough with bronze and many doors that still exist from the 8th and 9th century or byzantine eras originated in Constantinople. Many examples of these can be found in the St Mark's cathedral in Venice.

The oldest door in the UK can be found at Westminster Abbey and is said to date at around 1050. Other doors of special note around the world include the doors of the Florence baptistery. These doors were built by the Italian sculptor Andrea Pisano. Pisano created doors that are cast in a beautiful shroud of bronze and the doors depict scenes of the life of St John the Baptist. The panels on the doors picture the eight virtues of faith, hope, charity, fortitude, humility, prudence, justice and temperance.
About the Author
Shaun Parker is an expert on doors. He has worked with wooden doors, external doors and interior doors.
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