History Of Awnings

Canvas Awning Fabric

History Of Awnings in San Francisco, CACanvas is a generic term. "Canvas" is 100% cotton duck. Yes, duck. Back when we started in 1897, they used to stencil a duck on the outside of the roll with a number — a number duck — that goes from #12 (11.5 ounce) up to #2/0 (32 ounce). Like metal gauge thickness, the lower the number the thicker the material. Canvas meant raw untreated material, not waterproof, no ultra violet light inhibitors. It would shrink when it got wet, up to 10%. Water resistance was with a paraffin treatment (wax)! You can still get 100% cotton canvas today in natural color and a few dyed colors. Back when we started, up until the Roaring 20's, all awnings were made from 12 ounce cotton and were available in two colors: natural or khaki. One yard of 12 ounce material weighs 12 ounces, one yard of 32 ounce material weighs 32 ounces.

The History of Treated Canvas and Painted Fabrics: 1920

From the 1920's through the '70s, more weather resistant materials became available, usually cotton / polyester blends or 100% polyester with various treatments, such as coatings of acrylic paint, vinyl, or polyester resin. They were called "painted fabrics" because most awnings were acrylic coated. Typically, awnings used 12 ounce material, with marine applications and seaside awnings using heavier 16 to 19 ounce fabrics. Painted fabrics and vinyl are still used in some applications today.

Vinyl Laminates: 1950

Vinyl laminates became available after the end of WWII. The vinyl laminate starts with a polyester scrim sandwiched between two or more layers of vinyl and bonded together with high pressure and heat. Typical weight of these laminates are 10 ounce to 19 ounce per square yard. High-quality laminates continue to be useful today in rigid, fixed frame awnings and tension structures. We no longer use them for retractable awnings because the constant rolling and unrolling causes the layers to de-laminate and separate over time.