Sonya Awning April 29th, 2018 - 11:21:43
Awnings have been common for more than 2000 years; retractable awnings have been around for almost 150 years. While the history of using awnings stretches far back in Europe and retractable awnings are commonly used there today, theyre rare in the United States - despite the fact that retractable awnings were invented in the US. This uneven adoption has led to an exposure of design options in Europe - intricate frames, new types of retractable frames, bold colors, and luscious patterns - while America, treating awnings as a practical afterthought, has stayed more conservative. A Quick History Some form of awnings has been around for millennia, starting in Egypt and the Middle East and spreading across the Roman Empire. Most of those were fixed canopies of mats, skins, or fabric bolts hung over poles. In the mid-1800s, shop owners began using movable awnings, which simply bunched up the fabric when it was taken down. In the latter part of the century, they began rolling awnings on a tube, cleanly retracting them and keeping the fabric safe. With minor variation, this is the same basic design used today on lateral arm retractable awnings.
Extra square footage. Retractable awnings can be used in a variety of applications and have virtually unlimited uses from ticket booths and ATM kiosks to smoking areas and employee break areas. This provides comfortable exterior spaces without extra construction costs. Tax deductible capital improvement. Municipal incentives. Retractable awnings even fall under many municipal capital improvement programs: cities like Norfolk, Virginia; Austin, Texas; San Jose, Calif.; and Philadelphia, all have small business and downtown development programs which offer incentives on capital improvement projects - and all specifically mention awnings as desirable (and incentivized) options. A municipal program can pay anywhere from 25% to 50% of the cost of the retractable awning.
Retractable awnings were quick to catch on in Europe, from open air markets to apartments and homes. In fact, the classic lateral arm awning is called a California Style Awning in Europe - and a European Style Awning in the US. Now, the retractable awning market is decidedly driven by Europe. Millions of retractable awnings are sold there annually and are found on the majority of homes and businesses, even being considered in the architectural design process. The highest quality manufacturers, most innovative new designs, and emerging trends are coming from European companies. By comparison, the awning market in America has been limited to mainly commercial buildings. Substantially fewer awnings are sold in the United States yearly - less than 50,000 - so the market, according to the Industrial Fabric Association International, is only about 2% saturated. Theres room for a change.
Arms - the part of the frame which folds closed at the elbow when the awning is retracted (rolls in) and opens when the awning is extended (rolls out). Shoulder - the joints on the retractable awning arms where arms attach to the mounting bar. Front bar - the extrusion at the very front of the awning frame. Hood - a cover which fits over the retractable awning frame and fabric; when the awning is fully retracted, the hood protects the exposed fabric, frame, and motor from the elements. Valance - a strip of fabric, usually a few inches high, which hangs from the front bar of the retractable awning. Rib - the cross bars of the frame which support the awning fabric. Not every awning style has ribs, since ribs are often used to create a shape to the awning frame; for example, lateral arm retractable awnings dont have any ribs. Canopy - an elongated, dome, or waterfall style retractable awning.