The history and repair of window awnings

vintage-aluminum-awningsvintage window awning
New declaration: We all need aluminum awnings. The are wonderfully decorative. They are authentic retro. They will help your pinch pleats resist sun rot. And if you have any heat beating down on your house – they can cut your air conditioning costs dramatically – they’re green! I’ll be doing more research on this topic around where to get authentic midcentury style aluminum awnings today. Meanwhile, the National Park Service has a detailed Preservation Brief all about window awnings, including how to care for vintage ones still on your home. Its focus is principally on historic commercial structures, but it’s still quite useful and interesting. For example, here’s what they say about awnings in the 1950s:

Widely available by the 1950s, aluminum awnings were touted as longer-lasting and lower-maintenance than traditional awnings. Though used on small-scale commercial structures, they were especially popular with homeowners. Aluminum awnings were made with slats called “pans” arranged horizontally or vertically. For variety and to match the building to which they were applied, different colored slats could be arranged to create stripes or other decorative patterns. While aluminum awnings were usually fixed, in the 1960s several operable roller awnings were developed, including one with the trade name Flexalum Roll-Up.

Here’s the link to the NPS Brief.

Where to buy window awnings:


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  1. Craig Williams says

    Is there anyone who can reskin existing awnings? I have originals from 1947. A couple are too far gone for simple repair and I want the house to look like it did 70 years ago. Ideally, I could just buy kin and rivet it on myself but I can’t find anywhere to get that. Ideas??

  2. Wendy says

    Our home has its original 1950’s roll-up awnings. The ropes that work the awning are old and weathered and are breaking. We are looking for a place that can fix them. We don’t want to replace them as they are surprisingly still in good shape. We live in southeast Wisonsin (near Milwaukee). Can you give us any direction of where to look?

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