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A Brief History of Residential Rain Gutters

August 14th, 2019 | No Comments »

GargoyleEver wonder how long people have been using rain gutters in their homes, and what kinds of materials have been used in gutters throughout history?

Today we’ll address a few landmark events in the long history of residential rain gutters.

It all started in the Indus Valley, in what is present-day Pakistan and northwestern India. Between 3000 and 1500 B.C., humans began constructing primitive rain gutters made of burnt clay bricks. Centuries later, between 27 B.C. and 14 A.D. the Romans began to develop basic gutter technology as well.

A major change took place in Britain, during the spread of the Norman Empire between the 10th and 13th centuries. You’ve probably seen gargoyles in photos of medieval European buildings, but did you know that these sculptures aren’t purely decorative? Evolving roof styles during this period led builders to use stone gargoyles as innovative gutter systems that discharge water through their mouths. In fact, the word gargoyle is derived from the older French word for a throat, gargouille.

Later builders manufactured gutters from lead. That changed in the early 1700s, when cast iron became plentiful and cheap, replacing lead as the most popular material in gutter fabrication. Later in the century, wealthy homes and public buildings began to use aesthetically pleasing and functional wooden V-shaped gutters instead.

New technologies in the 20th century, such as metal rolling machines, led to further changes in the gutter industry. In the 1960s, the seamless aluminum gutter machine was invented. Aluminum gutters are sturdier and lighter than gutters made from many other materials, and aluminum continues to be the most common gutter material today. 

At Bell Seamless Gutters, we’re proud to offer durable, long-lasting seamless gutters and gutter guards to homeowners throughout New Jersey. To learn more about all the gutter options we have available, feel free to give us a call or contact us online today!