Our History

American Canvas Products, Inc. traces its roots over 100 years in San Francisco, through four generations of current owner Tim McGill’s family.

After working for F. Thoms Awning Company on Mission Street since 1900, Tim’s great-grandfather FH (Fred) Behnke bought out Thoms in 1911 and founded American Tent and Awning Company, which was incorporated in 1916. The company name was changed to American Canvas Products, Inc. in 1966. The awning company eventually passed on to Behnke’s son, grandsons, and great-grandson. In the 1960s “The Shop”, as it is affectionately called, was moved to its current location near Bayshore Blvd.

Early photos of San Francisco show the extensive use of awnings for businesses. Retractable awnings of the time used cast iron crank arms and hand-build gear boxes, some still in use in the city. Tim McGill is always happy to discover old gear boxes from his grandfather’s time and has even refurbished some of them for continued use.

Tim McGill

Tim carries on the 4th generation of the family tent and awnings business started by his great-grandfather. At a young age, Tim was trained by his father, uncle, and grandfather, so he has been well-prepared to run this 100+ year old company. Tim has experience in every function of manufacturing, including welding, sewing, and installing; and he now oversees all operations, with a core group of well-trained employees. Tim has been President of American Canvas & Awning since 1987.

Tim has relationships with local businesses, including restaurants, hotels, markets, and retail stores. Construction companies and local contractors rely on Tim’s expertise in the awning industry, and they bring repeat business to American Canvas Products, Inc. Tim has an eye for design and is skilled at mechanical engineering. He sees clearly the necessary solutions to bring a design to reality. He understands the requirements during every step of production, including arranging permitting and creating necessary documentation. He is proud to carry on the family business of providing quality custom awnings at reasonable prices.

History of American Canvas And Awnings in San Francisco, CA

History of American Canvas And Awnings in San Francisco, CA