Montgomery Ward Spring/Summer 1949
In these days of climate-change-slash-global-warming, that promise seems as relevant as it did in 1949, when it graced page 1000 of the mighty (mighty thick, mighty heavy, mighty large) Montgomery Ward Spring/Summer catalog.
And you could get that cooling with just awnings! Ward’s promised that actual tests made by the American Society of Heating and Ventilating Engineers proved that awnings could reduce solar heat by as much as 75 percent. They would also protect carpets, let you open the windows when it rained, and enhance the appearance of your home.
To that last point I can agree. These are charming. I see these awnings and I think of my grandmother’s house in Kansas City. She had something much like these, and in since Wards’ awnings were made in Kansas City, she may have had these actual ones.
I know awnings like these still exist many places, but air conditioning has killed off most of them. Granted, air conditioning cools better, but it costs money to run and makes noise. When I see these, I remember quiet summers in shaded rooms with warm breezes. Come to think of it, these didn’t cool nearly as much as air conditioners. Oh well. You gain something, you lose something.
The page of pictures was accompanied by a daunting page of copy…but then there was a lot you had to consider (and measure) before you ordered. Finally, although the term is not as familiar today, these were mostly “duck” awnings. Duck awnings are not shade for waterfowl, but a cotton canvas-type fabric. The name derives from the Dutch word “doek” which means “linen canvas.” Wikipedia is your friend.