Web Analytics Made Easy - Statcounter
Skip to main content

The Evolution of Commercial Canopies & Awnings

By March 29, 2018April 14th, 2021No Comments

The Evolution of Commercial Canopies & AwningUsing canopies and awnings to lower the impact of the sun’s heat on the interior of a building is not a new idea.  In fact, there’s evidence that the basic concept behind commercial canopies and awnings dates back thousands of years.  Here’s a look at the history of these functional designs – from the simplest versions to today’s motorized variations.

Ancient Uses

From Ancient Egypt to the Roman Empire, hanging rugs and blankets over windows was common practice to help keep the sun’s hot rays out of shops and homes.  In fact, paintings have been found on the walls of Egyptian tombs that depict this exact practice.  Later, the Sumerians and Romans adopted this trick, often incorporating exterior rods above windows and doorways to make it easier to hang the fabric materials.  Examples of early canopies and awnings can be found throughout history.

The Industrial Revolution

As the Industrial Revolution introduced more predominant middle class and more affordable manufactured goods, many first-time homeowners took to decorating their houses.  Especially during the 1880s, many of American’s Victorian-style homes were donning striped awnings, which were being commercially produced at the time.

The 20th Century

Blending form and function, the 20th Century saw a rise in commercial canopies and awnings used by shop owners and restaurant operators to help keep their customers more comfortable (and shopping for longer).  Many of these designs were retractable, so that they could be closed or taken down in the event of a storm.  By the 1940s, aluminum awnings were manufactured as more sturdy, semi-permanent options.

As air conditioning became more popular in America during the 1950s and 1960s, the role of awnings and canopies shifted away from reducing the temperature inside the building towards simple decoration.


Today’s renewed focus on environmental awareness and energy efficiency has given rise to a new generation of canopies and awnings.  More and more, business owners are recognizing how commercial canopies can help to reduce their company’s carbon footprint and energy costs, among the many other benefits of retractable canopies.  This new era has blended motorized technology, durable new materials, and a wide range of beautiful designs.

Are Commercial Canopies Right for Your Commercial Property?

At Retractable Structures (a division of Eide Industries, Inc.), we specialize in designing, manufacturing, and engineering commercial retractable structures and awnings. With almost 80 years of extensive design, construction, metal fabrication, industrial sewing, and installation experience, we are proud to offer the highest quality custom and pre-engineered products possible, made right here in the U.S.

View our Commercial Products!