The History of Rain Gutters. (Yes, they have a history!)

We talk a lot about the importance of a quality gutter system for your home. It’s pretty much a given that if you own a home it has gutters. Most of us, however, have probably never given much thought that rain gutters have a “history” and it’s actually half way interesting.

The original implementation of a gutter type system dates back to ancient times when barrels were used to collect rainwater for drinking and bathing. The first “constructed” gutters were made from bricks and burnt clay, developed to serve as a type of less than modern day water-based toilet system. Eventually, civilizations in Egypt and Greece introduced gutters  that took on a more architectural style in the form of gargoyles resembling a lion’s head.

These were used in the more traditional sense to divert water from structures by acting as water spouts. The Romans also had their own take on the early gutter system, transforming road development through the creation of crowns, slightly higher elevation in the middle of the street, to create a runoff of water into gutters.

Eventually the innovation of the gutter spread, heading into northern Europe, and as changes in roof styles evolved, gargoyles became the dominant and sole gutter system.

As modern civilization continued to develop so did the function and style of rain gutters. The early 1700s introduced us to cast iron, a very plentiful and cheap material. This material quickly gained popularity and eventually replaced lead as the main metal used in the construction of gutters. As the century progressed so did the use and functionality of these systems, with wooden gutters being placed on to public buildings and wealthy homes. Due to the aesthetically pleasing nature of the wooden V-shaped gutter, combined with functionality, this style continued well into the 20th century.

The 20th century showcased how to implement new technologies and materials in gutter systems. For example, the invention of metal rolling machines led to half-round steel gutters being installed on buildings. Then, during the World War II era, plastic was developed and this material became the dominant ingredient for creating gutters. Finally, in the 1960s, the gutter industry was completely revolutionized by the invention of the seamless aluminum gutter machine. Stronger and lighter than other metals used to create gutters, aluminum continues to be the dominant metal used in guttering today.

So that’s it in a nutshell! Your very own crash course on a system that has become integral to the structural integrity and longevity of your home. Gutters have come a long way from a wooden barrel collecting rainwater, to say the least! Today, gutters not only offer functionality but also style and appeal to your home. Call us today for your free quote and to learn about the wide array of colors, designs, shapes, styles, materials and configurations available to add the finishing touch to your home.