Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The unceremonious demise of the screen door!

Here's one that comes under the category of "the more we improve things - the worse they get".

Several years ago, houses and homes in North America commonly came with a high-tech apparatus that allowed your home to conserve its heat (or coolness) even when the door was OPEN!

This clever innovation was called a "screen door".

These doors used to fit on the most exterior side of an ordinary door frame. The screen door was usually fitted with sliding glass or plexiglas windows and screens, so that you could adjust them according to the weather. In summer you could leave your big old door open and let cool or fresh air come in through the screen. In colder weather, you could bring in your groceries without losing all the warm air out of your house. That's because the screen door was fitted with an ingenious "spring" system that enabled the door to close by itself even if your hands were full!

These amazing devices did not require any power supply at all, they came in a full range of colours. There were absolutely no discharges of any type into the atmosphere, except when you would get a severe windstorm that could, in rare situations, send the entire door flying down the street.

The advantages of these marvels were almost endless. Believe it or not, many screen doors could be opened and closed by regular domestic animals, without any specialized training.

Screen doors would have been exceptionally useful in these days of heightened environmental awareness, global warming, etc.

Unfortunately, the worst possible thing has happened to screen doors: they have become unfashionable and many well-informed experts actually believe they are ugly. No self-respecting modern home owner can bear the humiliation of having something ugly and unfashionable hanging right on their front entry, so, we as a society are learning to live without screen doors.

In case you have not ever seen a screen door, I have managed to discover a rare photograph of one and have included it here.

Albeit, the one pictured above is an "art" screen door (not intended for actual use on a house). It was created by Vancouver artist Rodney Graham (and subsequently purchased by the Musee d'art Contemporain in Montreal for $300,000). This is a solid sterling silver replica of a screen door that Elvis had at Graceland.

No comments: