The electric garage door opener was invented by C.G. Johnson in 1926. C.G. Johnson, whose full name was Carl George Johnson, was an American inventor and entrepreneur. He was the founder of the Overhead Door Corporation, a company known for manufacturing and distributing garage doors and openers. Johnson invented the electric garage door opener in 1926, which greatly simplified the process of opening and closing garage doors. His invention laid the foundation for modern garage door systems and significantly contributed to the convenience and safety of homeowners worldwide. He introduced the first electric overhead garage door opener, which revolutionized the way people accessed their garages. Before this invention, garage doors were primarily opened manually. Johnson’s invention made it much more convenient for homeowners to open and close their garage doors with the push of a button.

The device consisted of an electric motor that was installed near the garage door on the ceiling. This motor drove a chain, which was connected to a bar that moved the garage door up and down along a track.

Here’s how it worked:

  1. Activation: To operate the garage door opener, the user would press a button, usually located on a wired remote control device. When the button was pressed, it sent an electrical signal to the electric motor.
  2. Motor Operation: The electric motor, upon receiving the signal, would start running. The motor’s movement drove a chain that was connected to a trolley or carriage. This trolley was attached to the garage door.
  3. Door Movement: As the motor turned, the chain-driven trolley moved along a track. This movement caused the garage door to either open or close, depending on the direction of the motor.
  4. Limit Switches: The opener also typically had limit switches that would stop the motor when the door reached its fully open or closed position. This prevented the motor from continuing to run once the door was fully open or closed, ensuring the door wouldn’t be damaged.
  5. Safety Reversal: Modern garage door openers are equipped with safety features like photoelectric sensors and auto-reverse mechanisms. However, these features were not present in the earliest models. Safety was largely the responsibility of the user, who needed to ensure that the door’s path was clear before activating the opener.

This basic mechanism laid the foundation for subsequent garage door opener designs, which have since incorporated advanced safety features and remote control options for added convenience and security.