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The history of the roller shutter

Who Invented the First Roller Shutter?

Ah the humble roller shutter. So simple, so effective and such a common sight in our world today. As technology evolves, the roller shutter has stuck to its core principles, security, energy efficiency and ease of use. Of course there have been tweaks to the design, but always with keeping the three main requirements in mind.

We’re fascinated by our product range and the roller shutter, a staple part of our range, has probably one of the most interesting histories of them all.

There is a common belief that the first roller shutter dates back to 1882, where in the Swiss municipality of Aadorf a man named Anton Greisserfiled a patent for a new door style he had invented. The roller shutter.

Initially his designs were made from wood and he sold these to local businesses and homes in his village to help protect their properties. This business is still in existence today where of course their product range has diversified into some quite staggering roller shutter products with a more architectural flavour.

However Anton Griesser may have been the man behind the patent, but the first automated door dates back thousands of years to an Egyptian man named Heron of Alexandria. This man has been lauded as “the greatest experimenter of antiquity” and his invention, a steam and pulley powered door, would be identifiable nowadays as possibly the first incarnation of a roller shutter.

But back to Griesser and his patented design. Whilst his initial design had a modicum of success, it wasn’t until the outbreak of World War 1 where the uptake became rapid. Bomb damage, shrapnel and looters were causing mayhem to businesses and these shop owners needed to protect their properties. Opportunist businesses were quick to recognise this was a growing market and roller shutter companies started popping up in abundance. Roller shutters advanced in their design to be more sturdy and many people benefitted from their development.

A tip of the hat should also go to a man named, C.G. Johnson who invented in 1926 a mechanism for opening garage doors. This “up and over” mechanism, is still used today. This mechanism was then adapted for use in roller shutters, making them easier to operate.

Fast forward to the 1970’s and the world was experiencing a full blown energy crisis especially across Europe and the USA. This story may sound familiar, especially with the rising energy bills across the world over the last three years of the Russia/Ukraine conflict, but people were desperate to find ways to save money on their energy bills even back in the 70’s. people turned to the roller shutters exploiting their energy efficient properties of keeping heat in and keeping the cold out. Ironically, as with the first world war, there was a boom in the 70’s of roller shutter start-ups, making the most out of the demand.

And now here we are in the 21st century, still waxing lyrical about roller shutters. Their use is still as relevant and vital to industry as it has ever been and with more technology being added and SMART solutions being integrated, the roller shutter has come a long way since Heron of Alexandria utilised steam and pulleys.

The very latest range of ArrowGuard roller shutters provides security, energy efficiency and durability in abundance and as one of the most respected names in the industrial door business, we’re always looking at the market, working with our suppliers and delivering new innovations. You can check out our #ArrowGuard range by visiting

And for all of us history geeks and buffs, we hope you enjoyed the little walk down memory lane and that you learnt a thing or two about the humble…but vital roller shutter.

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