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The History of Awnings – Shading

The use of awnings first appears in ancient civilizations described as woven mats. These mats were made from reeds found in the marshlands and while they shaded booths in the market place, they were not very durable. A sudden rain could bring these awnings to destruction. You might also see awnings attached to carriages or held over the heads of privileged people walking in the sun. Sun protection fabric such as heavy cotton was also used and linen is mentioned in a poem in 50 BC as shade awnings for theatres.

Awnings become more popular in North America in the early 1800’s with frames built of wood or iron posts. These canvas awnings lined sidewalks in front of stores, more to preserve goods in the shops than to provide comfort to the strolling passersby. Heavy canvas would be nailed or hooked to one end while the other end was draped to form a valance. Proper maintenance of these awnings had to be drawn up or removed during the winter months or inclement weather. Industrialization following the Civil War made use of awnings more common by being more affordable with the use of iron pipe frames. Iron pipe could be bent into different sizes and shapes and the same canvas that was used for boat sails was found to be more durable. Similar construction was common into the 1980’s when the frames and fabrics we use today were developed.

Eclipse Shading Systems® products bring the most modern, durable and affordable construction and fabrics to your door with outstanding customer service and a dedication to delivering “Eclipse Excellence” to every customer. Our professional experts will help you find the shading option that’s right for you!