Ancient Greek History

First Automatic Door Invented in Ancient Greece

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We take certain things for granted in our modern lives, such as doors. There was a time when doors didn’t exist, and the first known instance of them is traced back to the Egyptian tombs. Over time, other cultures, such as the Ancient Greeks, also started using doors. Back then, they were used to separate a dwelling from the outdoors and also to differentiation between rooms. Even though the Greeks didn’t have the first door, they are credited with inventing the automatic door.

Typical Doors in Ancient Greece

The Ancient Greeks actually had a variety of different doors. Back then, the doors were hung by pivots on both the tops and the bottoms. They had single, double, and triple doors. After a while, they also started using sliding doors. Many of these doors were made of materials other than wood, such as marble and bronze. Sometimes, the doors, which are also called leaves, are set on a hinge and actually did fold backwards or forwards, depending on how they were designed. As you can imagine, they were often cumbersome and heavy, which made using them fairly difficult.

Developing the First Automatic Door

Even though the first known door was uncovered in an Egyptian tomb, not much is known about how the doors were actually invented. However, we do know that Heron, who was a mathematician, developed the first known automatic door in Alexandria in the 1st Century AD. His clever hydraulic system, which used to displace water, relied on the heavy water to move the doors. This system was found on a temple in Alexandria, a Greek colony at the time.

Who Heron of Alexandria Was

So, who was Heron and why did he invent the automatic door? Well, Heron was a mathematician who is best known for his work in mechanics. He was also a well-known inventor. His principal work, the Metrica was found in 1896, includes important information on geometry, including how to estimate a tangible number when calculating square roots and other geometric formulas. As an inventor, he was most interested in mechanics and he was heavily influenced by the work of Archimedes, who was also an important inventor.

Practical Application of Mathematics

One of the subjects that interested Heron the most was how to apply mathematical principals in a practical way. Rather than simply make calculations, he wanted to understand how these numbers applied to the world around him. He took this knowledge a step further and used it to invent various things, such as the first vending machine (a coin operated water fountain, a steam powered device called the Aeolipile, and of course, the automatic door.

Today, automatic doors have come a long way from what they were in Heron’s time. Now, most of us encounter doors that open by them all the time. Without his invention, however, other inventors would not have known what was possible





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This post was written by Greek Boston

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