Metal roofing is a highly popular choice for many homeowners today, because of its durability and energy efficiency, but did you know that metal roofing was also popular in early American history? Let’s review how and why the metal roofing industry took off in early America.
1. Who Came Up with the Metal Roof?
Copper was the first metal used for roofing in many countries, including Asia, Europe, and the Americas. We really can’t be sure who exactly came up with using copper as a roofing material first, but there are many examples of ancient peoples using it for their homes or temples. Metal roofing in the past looked a lot different than it does today. In ancient Rome, the Parthenon’s roof was covered in copper plates, similar in style and shape to the steel used in today’s metal roofs. Metal styled like shingles was also used on the Lovamahapaya Temple in Sri Lanka in the 3rd century BC.
2. How Did the Metal Roof Come to America?
Metal roofing first came over to America in the 18th century. Sheet iron was first manufactured in America by the Revolutionary War financier Robert Morris. Morris had a metal rolling mill near Trenton, New Jersey, where he made the roof of his own Philadelphia mansion in 1794. The roof of Princeton’s “Nassau Hall” was also covered in this sheet iron. The methods for corrugated iron were first patented in England in 1829. Corrugating stiffened the metal sheets, allowing a greater span over a lighter frame, and reduced labor and installation time. Galvanizing these iron sheets with zinc to protect the metal from rust was developed in France in the late 1830s, and by the 1850s many homes and businesses in America soon adopted this galvanized metal for their roofs.
3. Metal Roofing from the 19th Century Until Now
Metal roofs became extremely popular in the late 1800s due to the growing number of pioneers moving to southern Florida. “Cracker” houses or “Dog-Trot” houses were extremely popular in Florida and many other southern states. These houses are best known for their long-lasting metal roofs, long, breezy hallways, or as they are known in Florida, ‘dog-trots’, and open floor plan. These homes were built to keep cool in the hot summer months. Due to the popularity of metal in Florida, many other states adopted the shiny, heat-reflecting material to keep their homes cool in the summer. Today, metal has grown to be one of the most popular roofing materials out there due to its long lasting and energy efficient properties.
A metal roof is a great choice for any homeowner who wants a low maintenance, high quality, and energy saving roof.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Florida_cracker_architectureReferences: https://www.nps.gov/tps/how-to-preserve/briefs/4-roofing.htm#:~:text=Galvanizing%20with%20zinc%20to%20protect,Mint%20in%20New%20Orleans. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metal_roof https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Florida_cracker_architecture