Window Shades and Awning Fun Facts

Red Striped Retractable Awning

Have you ever woken up with the sun in your eyes? Have you ever gotten soaked from waiting in the rain?

Window awnings and shades could've prevented those annoyances. Unfortunately, we tend to take these silent protectors for granted.

What better way to show our appreciation for these window wonders than with some fun facts? Read on to learn some fascinating, historical, and practical facts about shades and awnings.

1. Animal Hides Were the Original Window Treatment

This one's difficult to prove, but it's believed that cavemen used animal hides to cover their makeshift windows. In cold weather, the hides would block wind and freezing temperatures. In hot weather, they used water-soaked hides as pseudo-air conditioners. 

Nowadays, outdoor window coverings are made from Sunbrella acrylic fabric and Textilene mesh. 

2. Roman Shades Were Born Out of Necessity...in Rome

The Romans built the Colosseum, the famous amphitheater, between 70 and 72 A.D. in Rome. The enormous theater (it can hold up to 50,000 people) still stands today. It was originally a gift to the Romans as an entertainment venue.

But, the Romans probably didn't think of those two years of construction as a gift. It's believed that the Romans covered their windows with damp cloths to keep the dust out of their homes. This is considered the birth of Roman shades.

The Colosseum itself was also covered by an early type of retractable awning called a velarium. It protected the spectators from heat and the outside elements. Since a rigging system supported the velarium, adjusting it required the strength of hundreds of people.

If only they'd had the electronic retractable awnings we have today.

3. Americans Have Been Using Window Shades Since 1780

The earliest version of the modern roller shade was first developed in Holland in the 17th century. That means that roller shades are actually older than the United States.

Americans didn't start using them until the 1780s. Many of these window shades were hand painted or stenciled. The shades served a practical purpose, but they were also decorative.

Blue Dome Awning

4. Awnings Have Played a Part in Movie Stunts

Did you know that awnings have been featured in action movie stunts?

In Jackie Chan's 1983 movie, Project A, Chan's character narrowly escapes from an attacker at the top of a clocktower. In this clip, his only escape option is to jump — but he falls through two awnings on the way down.  

In Disney's 2019 Aladdin, he escapes the authorities by bouncing off of several awnings and landing safely on the ground. (Don't try this at home!)

5. Awnings Are Good for the Environment

Sunlit rooms feel warm and inviting until it's 3 P.M. and your house is sweltering. Awnings can block some of that sunlight and keep your home at a more comfortable temperature.

If you install an awning on a window that faces south west, you could reduce your heat gain in the summer by 77%. In other words, your home will feel much cooler and therefore more comfortable. Your air conditioner won't have to work as hard which will save you money on your utilities and lower your CO2 emissions. 

Blue Stationary Awning

Upgrade Your Home with Window Awnings Today

Window awnings and shades have a long history of making our lives better. They protect us from the elements, star in our favorite movies, and they even help us save money on our utility bills. 

If you'd like to add window awnings or shades to your home, contact us today.