When awnings were first used, they were woven mats that shaded market stalls and dwellings. During the Roman Empire, large retractable awnings shaded amphitheaters and stadiums like the Coliseum. The construction and materials of early awnings were simple. Often, wood or cast-iron posts were used as the frame and canvas was the fabric used as the shade material. Over time, the construction and materials used in awnings developed and new fabrics like polyester and acrylics were used.
By the 20th century, awnings became more focused on improvements in operation as well as customizing configurations to accommodate store-fronts. In fact, during this period, folding-arm and lateral arm awnings were developed and this helped to advance the versatility of the product.
So, what’s the future of the awning? Down the road, we will start to see the incorporation of technology into our shade structures. We will see the use of solar films – today we have solar panels – and awnings will also evolve with technological advances like new motorized systems, automated functions, and more. The fabrics used in awnings are also set to develop further with new coatings being developed.
The awning industry is always developing and seeing how far this shade structure has evolved since the days of the Coliseum, is amazing.