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Who Invented the Revolving Door

The revolving door is a specially designed building entrance that features a central shaft with three to four doors (also called wings) attached. These doors, usually made of glass so that people can see each other, revolve in a circular pattern to allow people to enter and exit the building. These doors are popular with large building because they are sealed to the weather. This means that they prevent drafts and reduce the cooling or heating requirements for a building. They are also sometimes used in high security settings to allow only one person to enter/exit at a time. Let’s find out who invented this unique type of door.

Who invented the revolving door?
In 1881 a German inventor by the name of H. Bockhacker was awarded a German patent for a “door without draft or air.” However, this did not become the modern revolving door we know today. In 1888 the American inventor Theophilus Van Kannel was granted a U.S. patent for his “Storm-Door Structure.” This patent featured a three winged revolving door that also featured weather strips to prevent outside elements (such as wind, rain, snow or dust) from entering the building. Van Kannel also listed other benefits of his invention, such as the fact that the door could not be blown open and that it prevented collisions from people entering and exiting the building. However, the patent filing does not mention the name “revolving door”

In 1889 Van Kannel was awarded the John Scott Legacy Medal by the Franklin Institute for his invention. The first revolving door was constructed at Rector’s restaurant in Times Square in 1899. In 2007 Van Kannel was inducted into the National Hall of Fame for inventing the modern revolving door.

Did you know?
The revolving door hasn’t changed much since it was invented, although automatic doors are sometimes used. This type of revolving door is sometimes considered to dangerous and have caused at least one death!

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