History of Aristocrat Retractable Awnings, Canopies, and Shades

When Craft-Bilt president Andy Stone was newly married, he went to Sweden to meet his in-laws, and it was there that he saw retractable fabric awnings on almost every house, store, and business.

After returning to his home in suburban Philadelphia, Andy began noticing how many back yard decks and patios stood empty on the nicest, brightest afternoons of the summer.

“Our deck is too hot,” people told him, in answer to his question on why people stayed inside on such lovely days.

Retractable Awnings are the answer, Andy decided.

In 1986 Craft-Bilt developed a new department to manufacture lateral arm retractable patio awnings, and a complementary line of window and basket awnings. Using Swedish technology and American manufacturing, Craft-Bilt entered the market under the trademark Aristocrat®, to reflect the “royal” nature of this high end, beautiful awning.

To show how far we have come Aristocrat Awnings were awarded outstanding achievement honors by the Industrial Fabrics Association International.

Energy Savings in the Forefront of Home Improvement

As energy costs began skyrocketing, and citizens became more aware of the need to conserve energy, Aristocrat introduced a new variety of shade products. For inspiration, Aristocrat turned to the European market, where instead of air conditioning, homes and businesses use products that control solar heat gain.

Exterior solar shades, which keep window glass cool by stopping the heat of the sun before it hits the glass, were re-engineered for the American market and introduced in 2008.

Free standing retractable canopies were manufactured to provide poolside shade, and under pergola canopies designed to enhance the shade and shelter properties of existing structures.

Sun protection for you and your family

In recent years, health professionals have become aware of the sun's ill effects on our skin and eyes. Protection from harmful UV rays, especially for children, is important in planning outdoor living spaces. Aristocrat added a variety of new shade products to meet the needs of a variety of homes and businesses.

(Note: In Canada, Aristocrat Awnings by Craft-Bilt are marketed under the trademark Betterliving. Click here for the Canadian site.)

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