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"Bureaucracies hide their mistakes, because people's careers are tied to those mistakes. Therefore, bureaucracies are a perfect mechanism for perpetuating mistakes."
- Frank Herbert

Automatic Door  
  A wall strip that rolls up automatically to let you through.  

As far as I know, this is the first description of an automatic sliding door.

The two men addressed turned obediently, after one reluctant glance at Graham, and instead of going through the archway as he expected, walked straight to the dead wall of the apartment opposite the archway. And then came a strange thing; a long strip of this apparently solid wall rolled up with a snap, hung over the two retreating men and fell again, and immediately Graham was alone with the new comer and the purple-robed man with the flaxen beard.
From When the Sleeper Wakes, by H.G. Wells.
Published by Unknown in 1899
Additional resources -

The first automatic sliding doors for use by people were invented in 1954 by Lew Hewitt and Dee Horton; the first one was installed in 1960. It made use of a mat actuator. The idea came to them in the mid-1950's, when they saw that existing swing doors had difficulty operating in the high winds of Corpus Christi, Texas.

Upward sliding garage doors date from the 1920's; the first electric door openers (not automatic) were sold in 1926. The rolltop desk, which has a similar form, was around in the mid-eighteenth century.

(Note: this item was formerly (incorrectly) attributed to Jules Verne. Sorry about that.)

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from When the Sleeper Wakes
  More Ideas and Technology by H.G. Wells
  Tech news articles related to When the Sleeper Wakes
  Tech news articles related to works by H.G. Wells

Automatic Door-related news articles:
  - Tanaka Auto Door

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