French After All: A Short History of French Doors

French After All: A Short History of French Doors

September 28, 2017

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) 522-3034 in Milwaukee, or (877) 977-3639 toll-free.

Hear From Our Customers

This was a great crew to work with. Both the original install manager we worked with (Jay) and the install team (Daniel, Mason, Tony, Ethan, and Jose). Everyone was very professional and knowledgable. They answered all my questions and the end result on the house is great. In 3 days they replaced an old bay window with a new bay window, a set of french doors on the patio with a sliding patio door, and our old front door with a new front door and storm door.

I cant express how happy we are with choosing Andersen for our window installation. Our sales representative was knowledgeable with product and answered any questions we had without hesitation. I did also fill out a survey that was sent in an email, but sadly I failed to personally name the two gentlemen that performed the actual installation. Barrett and Francisco were our guys, and let me tell you, they were outstanding!!! They did Excellent work and were professional as well as efficient and made this a smooth, none evasive process for us. I strongly recommend this company and these installers to anyone in need of windows!!! My husband and I could not be more pleased we chose Andersen for replacing our windows!!!

Jason and Brett did an awesome job installing our doors. We had separate installers a month earlier for our windows who also did a fantastic job. They were all very professional and cleaned up almost better than the area looked before the installation! Since these were both jobs that took more than one day the installers were great at keeping us informed on the status of where the project was at along the way.

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Since its founding in 1977, the Alliance to Save Energy has been a leader in energy efficiency policy and advocacy. Over the years, the Alliance’s programs and priorities have evolved as U.S. energy efficiency policy has grown.