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French After All: A Short History of French Doors

Several things are prefixed with the word “French”, even if they weren’t French originally. You might already be thinking of French fries, which are not French at all and are not even called that in France. French toast—and, for a bit more intrigue, the French kiss—do not have any connection with France, either, even if perhaps the best place to enjoy both is within sight of the Eiffel Tower. Who knows why or how they came to be called French in the first place?

French After All

As for French doors, even if some people may not totally agree or admit to it, these do have a history that connects them back to pre-electricity France.

What is a French Door?

A French door is a kind of door with glass panels all throughout its length, typically separated by multiple smaller frames. One of the most stylish and preferred types of patio doors, this was not even always a door at all. The origin of French doors can be traced back to their original form and use, that of a window, hence the term “French window”.

The Influence of the Renaissance

Renaissance art is partly but strongly responsible for the design of the French window, which slowly but surely took on the duties of a door. In the 17th Century, when French windows are believed to have been conceived, Renaissance art—which, in architecture, weighed heavily on symmetry, regularity, geometry and proportion—emphasized light. Instead of using doors and windows that blocked it out, the French incorporated glass panes.

To provide even more illumination to more areas in houses, the French window found itself becoming larger, until it reached the floor, making it essentially a door. As this was the time when electricity was yet to be introduced, every second of lighting that could be squeezed out of a day mattered, and French windows and doors caught on.

Better Today

Interesting as the history of French doors may be, one can only imagine the limits that door and window makers of the day had to contend with. Today, whether you intend to use them as your main entry doors or the barrier that separates the patio from the rest of the house, French doors are simply better, sturdier and more beautiful than typical doors. And, if you get Renewal by Andersen® French doors, you get the added bonus of reliable energy efficiency, a factor that was non-existent in its original design.

Our French doors combine form and function, with our exclusive Fibrex® framing material that lends the beauty and strength of wood and the low-maintenance characteristic of vinyl, with better insulating properties. Let’s work together to give your home more personality with our exquisite doors; call us at (262) 955-8400 in Milwaukee, or (877) 977-3639 toll-free.

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