On August 7, 1888 Thomas Van Kannel of Philadelphia was granted US patent 387,571 for a “storm-door structure,” aka the revolving door. A patent that would lead to the implementation of the revolving doors we know today and land Van Kannel in the National Inventors Hall of Fame and earn him the John Scott Legacy Medal for his “contribution” to society.
But, is Van Kannel a hero or a villain? Here’s some background into how this deep dive into the origins of the revolving door began.
I grew up in Upstate, New York where you’re fortunate to only find a revolving door in a handful of places. I also spent 4 months in London, where I still only encountered them here and there. But, now that I am temporarily living in New York City they control my life. In a given day I walk through a revolving door at minimum 10 times. They’re like giant windmills and I’m the golf ball on a mini golf course, just closing my eyes and praying I don’t get laid out inside one of the city’s many giant glass blenders.
Remember when you were a kid and your parents would get annoyed with you and tell you the floor is lava and you’d have to get all psyched up to make that leap from the chair to the couch? That mentality exists in me today, every time I have to go through a goddamn revolving door.
But oh, Connor, you’re such a baby it’s a very soundly designed gateway that separates the warmth of indoors from harshness of the outdoors while maximizing a building’s energy saving capabilities. How about you tell former San Francisco 49er, Vincent Rovetti, that after he got mollywhopped by a revolving door in 1997 and broke his hip.
Or how about sweet 91 year-old Marianne Strong, who got knocked out cold by a revolving door only a few years ago. Not enough for you? Ok, ok, how about the girl who got her head stuck in one? Also a quick Google search shows at least three casualties in the last 12 years resulting from these twirling death traps.
And not to toot my own intellectual and research savvy horn, but there is a comment on Yahoo Answers claiming approximately 7,500 fatalities resulting from revolving doors from 1970-2009. From 1958-2014 there were 7,393 LESS death from unprovoked shark attacks worldwide and how about we just toss in the nearly 13,000 injuries caused by these stupid doors between 2004-2009 for good measure.
So, how are we just standing idly by while this dangerous invention that spawned from the mind of a man who was inspired by his phobia of holding doors open for women terrorizes us day after day? I frankly think our entrances into and out of buildings should be safer than goddamn prehistoric creatures (looking at you, sharks, but I know you’re a misunderstood majestic beast and I appreciate you strengthening my argument).
It’s time to take a stand. Let’s perhaps enter and exit buildings at a slightly slower rate and you know why? Because by doing that we’re out here saving lives and no one wants the topic of conversation at their funeral to be centered around how the hell a door vanquished them from the Earth (but if that happens, take solace in the statistics I provided, at least then you know you aren’t alone).