While not every building may have an awning, awnings have become a very common feature of structures, not only for decoration but also for convenience. It’s not uncommon to find awnings on many buildings including storefronts and homes, but were they always used like this? Awnings have a very long history in regards to not only their functionality but how they were adapted for other means. If you’re considering investing in an awning, this brief history of awnings may reveal why you’re considering this decision in the first place.
Ancient Times and Rome
Awnings date back to the very earliest civilizations. Many sources say they can be traced back to Egypt and Syria. While they didn’t resemble the structure of modern-day awnings or the awnings that were found in other periods of history, they served much of the same purpose in these hot deserts. Historians found they were mainly used to cover crowded market areas from the sunlight, while traces of much smaller cloth were used in a similar fashion for residences.
Awnings can be found in the Roman Empire, where the first traces of a retractable awning appeared. These retractable awnings were discovered in the Roman Colosseum, providing shade and coverage for the occupants. This specific type of awning is called a “velarium,” and is still used today, albeit in a different way. While they were once used as protection from different types of weather, they’re now used both indoors and outdoors as an inner ceiling in theaters to improve acoustics and to project the actors’ voices.
Awnings made a much more prominent appearance in the late 1800 and early 1900s. They began to expand with technology as well. In fact, some mimic what we have today, with a variety of ropes and different pulling mechanisms. However, awnings were typically used for only business purposes during this time and were decorated to match a store’s branding or to draw attention to a storefront. The most popular design choice that we still see today due to its timeless looks is the striped awning. While numerous other shapes were used, striped awnings could be found decorating the streets of cities in large numbers.
It wasn’t until the industrial revolution that awnings began returning to their roots in protecting residential housing. With factories now able to produce a higher amount of material and easy-to-assemble kits, awnings began taking the residential market by storm. Today, it isn’t uncommon to see awnings in a variety of uses around houses and businesses alike.
Considered investing in these historical awnings?
The best way to add a retractable awning to your home is by contacting the professional team at Deluxe Awning Company. We’re a small family business that’s been serving Southern Oregon since 1982. From residential homes to large commercial buildings, our quality-crafted awnings protect local residents from sun, rain, snow, and hail throughout the region. Our team will come to your home to assess your needs and provide recommendations to meet your design style and budget. Give us a call or visit us in Ashland to get started creating your perfect outdoor space.