The Evolution of the Garage, Part I

Red Carriage House with Horse and Buggy Outside | Floorguard.com
Nowadays it seems less likely to find a home that doesn’t have a garage, but despite their modern-day popularity, there was a time when they were less commonplace. The evolution of the garage over the years up to today with many of them utilizing epoxy floor coating for utility and attractiveness is fun to look at!

The meaning of the word: The word “garage” has its origins in the French verb “garer,” which means “to shelter.” It is cited as being used as early as 1902 to refer to a shelter for a vehicle.

It started with carriages: Before cars there were carriages, and before garages there were carriage houses. A carriage house was a structure unattached to the home that was used to house horse-drawn carriages and the tack and other equipment used to operate and maintain them. While some carriage houses may still be used for this purpose today, the term is also often used to refer to a small detached guest house on a home’s property.

Then came cars: With the rise in popularity of cars, many carriage houses took on a different purpose, housing vehicles instead of carriages. In 1908 Sears Roebuck starting selling portable garages for cars, and in the 1920s, when cars really began to take off due to the Federal Highway Act, people began to incorporate garages into their home design to keep their vehicles closer.

More – and bigger – cars led to bigger garages: Prosperity in the late ‘40s and ‘50s lead to people owning more cars and also bigger cars, which meant their garages needed to accommodate. In 1930, 15% of a 1,000 sq. ft. house was dedicated to car storage. In 1940 this increased to 30%, and in 1960 to 45%.

Check in for part II of this blog for a look at technology and statistics, as well as how epoxy floor coating has grown in use, with garages as we know them today.