Knoxville Garage Door Blog

Overhead Door Corporation Celebrates 100 Years

In the 1920s, our founder and the inventor of the
overhead garage door, C.G. Johnson, traveled the
country with a prototype of the overhead garage door
mounted on the back of his Model T Ford.

America’s first and most recommended garage door brand, Overhead Door Corporation® is entering its centennial year. We’re grateful for a 100-year history of service, and for innovation that continues to this day.

We Invented the Overhead Garage Door

Back in the 1900s, motorists stored their cars in carriage houses, which were fitted with 2 barn-like doors that swung outward. The carriage doors often sagged on their hinges and were particularly troublesome with inches of snow on the ground. And since these types of doors wore down quickly, repair and replacement were all too frequent. At first, another innovation took to the forefront of the solution - a sliding track door. But for a sliding door to work, the garage now needed to be at least twice the width of the doors for them to fully open.

In 1921, C.G. Johnson of Detroit turned the industry “on its ear” when he was granted a patent for the first overhead garage door. Instead of doors opening to the sides, Johnson’s idea rotated the concept 90 degrees. His door opened vertically, so it was parallel to the ceiling when fully opened. The design completely revolutionized garage building. That same year, Johnson founded the Overhead Door Company.

Dramatic Growth from The Beginning

The first factory covered 1,000 sq ft and produced one door a day. Within 3 years, the factory moved from Detroit to Hartford City, Indiana, to a new plant with 200,000 sq ft of manufacturing space.

Just a few years later, in 1926, Johnson invented the first electric garage door opener.

A History of Innovation

Today, the garage door is a part of our daily lives. Customers rely on us for safety, security, and dependability. Homeowners and commercial accounts can choose from dozens of models, exhibiting style and design to fit every need:

Founder C.G. Johnson would be amazed at the safety improvements offered by modern openers with electric-eye sensors and by remote openers that are integrated into the interior of our car, and yet even more so by an interactive app on Apple iPad or Android devices that help homeowners visualize their dream door BEFORE it’s ordered.

In East Tennessee, We’re Among the Best

Today there are more than 450 authorized Ribbon Distributors throughout North America. Our company, Overhead Door Company of Knoxville, a Wm. S. Trimble Company, became a distributor more than 80 years ago, in 1936. Since then we’ve earned elite status as one of the most respected dealerships in the country.

Choose the brand that invented the garage door.

Ready for a new garage door or service for your existing model? If you live in Knox, Anderson, Roane, Union, Grainger, Hamblen, Jefferson, Sevier, Blount, or Loudon county, Overhead Door Company of Knoxville can serve all your garage door needs. Click here or call 865.635.9320 to tell us about your concerns. We will happily provide you with a professional service call or estimate.