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Roofs Throughout History
We may take them for granted, but roofs are hugely important structures that have been protecting us from the elements for as long as mankind first moved out of the cave.
Throughout history, roofing materials and techniques have significantly developed; as architecture has progressed, so has the design and production of roofs and the architectural influences of each era can be clearly identified.
Letís take a step back to those brave homo-sapiens. Understanding that a roof equated to protection and survival, the early humans were faced with the challenge of creating dwellings from limited materials and tools.
The earliest known roofing material was the woolly skin of a giant mammoth, which was noted during 40, 000 BC in Siberia. As humans evolved and become more knowledgeable, different materials were used for roofs; the most familiar being slating and tiling which was introduced by the Romans in 100 BC, later followed by the thatched roof in 735AD and wooden shingles another 300 years after that.
However, it wasnít until the 12th century when roofing technology kicked off. It was at this time that King John of England issued a new law in London that forced London citizens to replace their thatch and reed-roof coverings with clay roof tiles as a measure of preventing the spread of fires; this was known as the roofing declaration law. It is believed that at this time, the mass production of roofing tiles began.
Years later in 1805, dreadnought clay roof tiles were produced and were considered a revolution in industrial roofing; roofs at this time had little insulation but a cleverly designed slope ensured that rainwater and debris were drained. It was a century later that the more modern concrete roofing tiles that we are accustomed to were first utilised.
Modern Roofing Systems
Roofing remains one of manís most practical and innovative creations; it is also influential in cultural architecture around the world. Whilst some buildings continue with historical roofing materials, the majority of structures use new modern technology to accommodate modern building techniques and styles.