The History of the Awning

July 8, 2015

The awning; it’s been around since ancient Egyptian and Syrian times! Even the Romans used awnings in the Coliseum to protect audiences attending gladiator bouts and other festivities! The history of the awning is quite interesting and involves the evolution of the types of fabrics and frames we use.


Coliseum Awnings

PictureStorefront Awnings

By the early-19th century, awnings became popular and many homes and businesses utilized these shade structures. Fabrics like linen and canvas were used and the frames were made from cast iron posts. Most of the time, these awnings were fixed in place. However, by the latter half of the 19th century, people could retract their awnings.

As technology advanced and specialty fabrics like polyester and vinyl started to be developed, the awning industry changed. By the 20th and 21st centuries there were more fabric options and frames were being constructed using aluminum and stainless steel. 


Modern Shade Sail

Today, awnings are versatile and can be installed with vinyl windows to not only provide shade but extend a business’ dining or lounging area and a home’s living space. Awnings can be made with retractable wire and even created to look like a shade sail or structure using specialty fabrics that are now UV resistant, mold and mildew resistant, and so much more.


Commercial Awnings with Graphics

In fact, awnings can be printed on to enhance a company’s building or even created with different colors, shapes and sizes. This is a far cry from when the Romans used linen awnings on wood poles to shade their guests. 

For more about the shape and size of awnings check out our Awning 101 page at

Now that you know more about the history of the awning, let us know how we can help you or answer any questions you might have and contact us at Or contact us today at 800-654-5933. Or you can email us at