How Have Awnings Improved Over the Years?

Published On: November 8, 2023|Categories: Awnings|

When you look at modern awnings on Ottawa homes and businesses, it may not occur to you just how long humans have been using these structures to shelter themselves from the elements. It may surprise you to learn that awnings have been around in some form or another for centuries!

modern awning

At Jans Awnings and Rollshutters, we offer the latest in outdoor home shading technology from awnings that expand or retract at the tap of your cellphone (or even using weather sensors). But where did it all begin?

Ancient Awnings

Historical records tell us that the ancient Egyptians and Syrians were among the first to use awnings. This choice makes sense, given their hot climates. Described as “woven mats,” these early awnings shaded market stalls and homes, offering respite from the relentless North African and Western Asian sun.

The Ancient Romans took awnings to another level with the velarium, a massive and intricate structure designed for amphitheatres like the famous Colosseum. Made from linen, timber, iron, and rope, these awnings could comfortably shade about a third of the audience, while high walls provided shade to another third.

The Evolution of Awnings

It wasn’t until the early 19th century that awnings became commonplace on buildings around the world. Typically supported by timber and iron posts, they used thick canvas for shading. However, these early awnings were vulnerable to water damage since the support came from the opposite side of the structure. If rain fell suddenly, the water would collect in the center until it either leaked through or the entire awning collapsed. Removing or retracting them was also challenging since they were secured with nails.

Over the following century, awning technology improved, making them easier to retract. The hinge and pulley system became the norm, allowing for more convenient extension and retraction. Materials like vinyl replaced earlier fabrics, offering durability and resistance to wear, tear, and moisture-related issues.

Moving into the 20th century, the hinge and pulley system became widespread, making it easier for home and business owners to expand or retract awnings as needed with changes in the weather. Materials like vinyl, polyester, and acrylic began to replace traditional fabrics, offering enhanced durability.

Modern Awnings

Now, in the 21st century, there has been a technological revolution across industries, including awnings. Today’s retractable awnings can be operated with a button or switch on the wall – or even from an app on your smartphone. (Or even voice-controlled options to operate the awning using Amazon Alexa or Google Nest).

Some awnings are even equipped with state-of-the-art weather sensors. When the sun shines, the awning automatically extends to provide shade. If the weather changes and the wind picks up, the awning retracts to prevent damage.

Another optional feature of modern awnings is dimmable LED lighting and radio-controlled infrared heating, ensuring a perfect atmosphere for any time of day or night.  Furthermore, modern awnings have never been more customizable than they are today, with hundreds of colours and fabric patterns to choose from.

Contact us today!

If you are considering a new awning for your Ottawa home or business, reach out to Jans Awnings and Rollshutters today. Our experts can help you choose the awning that is right for you and offer you the full range of options for a modern awning.

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