The Evolution of Awnings

The Evolution of Awnings

Awnings and canopies have been decorating homes and stores for a millennium. In fact, it’s believed that awnings were one of the first types of window coverings. Pictures from the walls of tombs in Ancient Egypt depict scenes of shopkeepers hanging rugs and blankets in front of the openings to their shops in order to prevent heat from entering. Eventually, the Sumerians and Romans copied this trick, with many Roman buildings incorporating outside rods in order to hang rugs or blankets over windows and door openings.

The start of the Industrial Revolution meant that many people were able to spend more time decorating their homes. In America, many first-generation homeowners were excited to decorate their homes, and by the 1880’s there were many commercially available awnings and patterns to make awnings. It was during this time that many Victorian-style homes began to use striped awnings to provide some relief from the summer during the late spring and summer.

By the turn of the century and up to the start of the Great Depression, awnings became more practical. In fact, many shopkeepers began to use retractable awnings and canopies to create shade on sunny days in order to keep their customers cool and shopping longer. These canopies were able to be quickly taken down in the event of a storm, helping them to last longer. By the 1940’s, these fabric shades were replaced with aluminum awnings that did not have to be taken down.

As air conditioning became more readily available, many homes stopped using awnings. However, a renewed interest in environmentalism, the desire to save money on energy costs, and the desire to open windows so that air can be exchanged with the outside, have created a renewed demand for awnings. Today’s styles incorporate more modern materials that hold up well in many different weather conditions. Retractable awnings are also motorized, allowing homeowners to quickly retract them without running outside during a storm.

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