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Security Doors: From Ancient Egypt to Modern Australia

Security Doors: From Ancient Egypt to Modern Australia

Since the door itself was first invented in Ancient Egypt around 3000 BC, people with something (or someone) to protect have continually found ways to make security doors stronger & more difficult to breach. 

Here in Australia, we’ve certainly come a very long way from the big wooden doors with pieces of mesh banging away every time someone comes home. Let’s take a quick look at how the cutting-edge technology used in today’s security doors came to keep our families & possessions safe.

Security Doors for Pharaoh & Caesar

Around 930 BC, the Ancient Egyptians started putting wooden locks on their doors that used exterior wooden pins linked to bolts inside. Historians point to these security measures as the world’s first tumbler locks.

It wasn’t until the Romans began to dominate the world stage that door locks & keys started to be made of metal. The Romans also came up with the padlock as well as the bronze puzzle lock, specifically made to keep burglars at bay, & to open only when a specific key was used. 

Building on the work of the Egyptians, the Romans likewise developed the pin-tumbler lock, which incorporated a rotating disc & metal springs in its designs.

Paintings from 1-2 AD also show that both Romans & Greeks also used rectangular & diamond-shaped grills to secure their homes—not unlike the security screens being used today.

Security Doors for the Middle & Industrial Ages

The portcullis of castle doors is probably the first to look something like present-day security doors. It was a latticed grille made of thick, heavy wood or metal that was lowered in front of the castle doors or entrances. The portcullis had spikes at the bottom that fit into openings in the ground whenever it was lowered shut.

By the 10 to 1400s in France, Germany & Spain, people started thinking more about doors & windows that were stylish as well as secure. This was when their security doors began to sport decorative elements made of iron or bronze.

The next major evolution for security doors would come in the 17 & 1800s, when the kind of locks still in use today would be developed. It was in the 1840s when Linus Yale, Jr developed the range of locks that now bear his name, & which were also the first to use the kind of flat, serrated-edged key that we’re familiar with.

It was also around this time that security alarms that used magnetic & electric technology came to be installed on doors & windows alike. It was in the late 1800s when security doors in Australia started to be built in the style of Colonial or Federation architecture which featured decorative aluminium grilles. 

By the 1860s in the US, the mesh that was used for sieves began to be used for doors & windows. These “mesh doors” were painted, had locks built into them, & were sold as the world’s first mass-produced security screen doors. These security screens were considered a must-have, rather than a nice-to-have by the end of the 19th century.

Security Doors in 20th & 21st-century Australia

By the time the 20th century rolled round, people began to move away from traditional metal keys & more toward card keys. The punched card keys of the 1970s evolved into Tor Sørnes’ recordable keycard, & from there into electronic keycards. 

It was in the 1980s when cards with magnetic stripes were used to keep doors secure. Where most Australian residences had used rudimentary fly screens in their doors for three decades, this was also when the use of mesh security doors really began to take off. By the 1990s, woven steel mesh started becoming a fixture in security doors across the country.

Today’s security doors leverage internet & Bluetooth connectivity, RFID technology & biometric scanners. However, it’s not just the locks that have made leaps & bounds, but the doors themselves & the mesh used for them, particularly in Australia.

Security door mesh now uses either 316 marine grade stainless steel or 5052 marine grade aluminium, whose corrosion-resistant properties make them perfect for homes on the coastal fringe. Made to Australian Standard AS5039, these security door screens are able to withstand bushfire attack levels of 40 for stainless steel, & 29 for aluminium mesh.

Modern security doors can also withstand knife shearing & come with triple-lock systems, making them extremely intruder resistant—a key characteristic taken in context of the recent rise in residential break-ins. In a February 2023 report, the Australian Bureau of Statistics estimated 194,100 homes or 2 per cent of all residences were broken into in the last financial year, up from 1.7 per cent in 2020 to 2021.

Just as the Europeans considered style centuries before, today’s security doors blend in seamlessly with contemporary residential designs. Our security doors come in hinged, sliding, stacker & folding varieties, as well as a whole range of custom colours. Click or tap “Customise” on our security sliding doors page to try out different colours for your own security doors, today.

EHi supplies & installs flyscreens, along with a wide range of home improvement products:  Blinds, awnings, security screens, shutters, & grilles.  These products form the focus of our government – backed apprenticeship, which we’ve recently named the Cert iii in BASS G™.