Ever wondered how the roofing industry advanced from the use of clay during the Stone Age to today’s modern shingles? Those beautifully crafted, multi-layered shingles used for roof replacement and to protect your home had humble beginnings. Pawcatuck Roofing Co. gives a short account of how the modern asphalt shingle roof came to be in this post.
Fabric: The First Modern Roof
Asphalt Shingles, like most home components, started from the simplest of things. Wood, clay and slate shingles were the most used materials until mid-19th century. During the 1800s, roofing was done by laying down a fabric and coating it with coal tar. With the sudden demand of this by-product, coal tar became too expensive for companies to use in roofing, forcing the industry to find cheaper alternatives.
Introduction of Asphalt Shingles
A Grand Rapids, Michigan roofing contractor named Henry Reynolds is credited for inventing roofing shingles. He did so in 1903, by cutting into individual shingles the rolls that had been saturated with asphalt and surfaced with stone. The manual work resulted in 8” x 16” shingles. It took 12 years before the machine that used a roller-die for cutting individual shingles out of asphalt-saturated felt ribbons was perfected. The first strip shingle, or Neposet Twin, was introduced in the 1920s by Bird and Son. It featured a cutout in the middle of a 12.5” x 20” shingle. The three-tab shingle became standard in the 1950s, measuring 12” x 36” per shingle.
Over the years, shingles have continued to evolve and many variants have been introduced, including other roofing materials inspired by the original asphalt shingles. In the U.S., asphalt shingles are still the undisputed champion of roofing, as most homeowners prefer them for their longevity, low price and easy repairability.
For more about roofing, or if you need a roofing repair or a replacement, call Pawcatuck Roofing Co. at (860) 865-1724. We offer our services to homeowners and business owners. We’ll be glad to work on your project in Rhode Island & Connecticut.