Once, revolving doors were a brand-new innovation that property owners were excited to add to their buildings. They were first invented in Germany in 1881 to prevent air drafts from entering along with guests. Shortly after, the three-partition version that’s so familiar today was patented in America. By the turn of the century, it became common to see revolving doors in New York and elsewhere. Indeed, they are still popular even today and are found at all types of properties, including shopping centers, healthcare facilities, restaurants, and much more.
However, revolving doors have experienced setbacks in their popularity over the decades. In particular, a 1942 nightclub fire in Boston resulted in nearly 500 people losing their lives, in part because panicking people became trapped in the club’s revolving door. To prevent such a tragedy from occurring again, revolving doors must now be collapsible in case of an emergency. Some jurisdictions also dictate that there must also be at least one swinging door nearby to aid in escape.
Despite the setbacks, revolving doors are still very common, especially in taller buildings where it is important to block drafts and prevent the chimney effect from occurring. Some of their other advantages include improving traffic flow, facilitating access for visitors using mobility aids, and generating energy savings.