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The History of Shingles

You see them on almost every home in the country, but how much do you really know about the history of shingles? Contact Turner Roofing today. History of Shingles

There are millions upon millions of shingles used every year in America, and the shingling process has been around for longer than 100 years. The historical significance of shingles lead people to purchase shingled roofs every year. If you are considering a shingled roof, contact Turner Roofing to learn more about this illustrious material.

How Old are Shingles?


Shingles were first used for roofing in 1840s New England. The earliest shingles were composite, made from woven or felted fabric and covered with sod or tar. These materials protected homes but were not as durable as the shingles we have today. Companies like S.M. and C.M. Warren Company improved composite shingles over time, mixing in materials such as talc, sand, powdered gravel, and limestone.


From Early Shingles to Rolled Felt


The next step toward modern asphalt shingles was roofing made of coal tar, also known as rolled roofing. Rolled roofing, a direct byproduct of the gas-lighting industry, was made with rolled felt saturated with tar and fine gravel, sometimes covered with asphalt. Rolled roofing was most common in the late 19th and early 20th centuries; asphalt shingles replaced it within several years.

Asphalt Shingles Today


Many people and developments gave us the asphalt shingles we know today. Credit for the first individual roof shingles goes to Henry M. Reynolds, a 1903 resident of Grand Rapids, MI. Reynolds does not get the credit for the first asphalt roof shingles, however. Until about 1911, wood shingles were more common. They fell out of favor in 1911, when the National Board of Fire Underwriters pushed to eliminate them in order to protect homeowners.


World War I was another big contributor to today’s asphalt shingles. During the war years, manufacturers perfected machinery that allowed workers to cut thick roofing materials into irregular shapes, such as individual shingles. Although the earliest asphalt shingles were cut into plain 8 x 12 pieces, they are now available in several different shapes. Some asphalt shingles have diamond shapes, for instance. Others have aesthetic features like scalloped edges.


Asphalt shingles are one of the most aesthetically pleasing roof materials you can choose. Contact Turner Roofing Company to learn more about shingles and go over several attractive options for your home.

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