Taking Inventory: Door

A portal to another world?

Doors! Where would we be without them? In a cold and draughty house, that’s where. But there’s no cold or draughts in Minecraft, so you’d be fair to ask why there are doors in the game. Honestly, we’re not totally sure. But it didn’t feel right to give people a way to build a house without also giving them the ability to add a door.

Doors have, as you might imagine, been a part of Minecraft for a very long time. Since June 2010, to be specific, and they’ve barely changed at all since! But the good news is that there are now many different kinds of doors that you can install. Using a different material to construct a door lets you create ten different visually distinct doors.

Ah yes, constructing a door. Grab six planks of matching wood, or six iron ingots, and arrange them in crafting grid into the shape of a door – two wide and three high. Hey presto – you get a door! You can also steal doors from villages (you monster), from shipwrecks, strongholds, and woodland mansions.

To install a door, place it on the top surface of any full-sized block or upside-down slab or stairs. The exact placement of the door and hinge will depend on the direction that you place it from, so experiment a little if it doesn’t immediately go where you want it to.

Once installed, you can open and close a wooden door by aiming at it and pressing the use button. Players, villagers, and some mobs can open wooden doors, and they can also be broken down by some mobs in Hard difficulty. Redstone will open a door too – a pressure plate or switch next to a door is a nice way of doing this, and the pressure plate even looks a little like a doormat. Iron doors can only be opened with a redstone pulse.

The earliest recorded doors show up in the paintings in Egyptian tombs, but they seem to have been in wide use across the ancient world. Archaeologists have unearthed a 5,000-year-old door in Switzerland, and the Bible mentions a few examples too.

The earliest automatic door, incredibly, dates back to the first century AD, built by Greek scholar Heron of Alexandria. The first automatic door operated by a foot sensor was created in China in the 7th century, and was installed in the royal library of Emperor Yang of Sui. Gates powered by water are also featured in illustrations of the automatons of the Arab inventor Al-Jazari.

The largest doors in the world, though, belong to the Vehicle Assembly Building at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Each of its four doors are 139 meters high, large enough to move the enormous Saturn launch vehicles through. They take 45 (!) minutes to open and close.

So next time you’re waiting for a door to open at the Vehicle Assembly Building, consider fitting in a little Minecraft while you wait. You’ll undoubtedly be glad you did!

Duncan Geere
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Duncan Geere
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