Suspended ceilings have become the talk of town owing to their aesthetic appeal and numerous other benefits they offer. Their ability to perfectly fit any room make them versatile. Furthermore, their availability in numerous types offers homeowners a sea of options to select the one that goes with the theme and décor of their home. Some other benefits of suspended ceilings, also known as the dropped ceiling, include:

  • Fire safety
  • Can be modified, repaired, and replaced easily
  • Provide easy access to cables, ducts, and pipes above
  • A modern and contemporary look
  • Hide old and worn out ceiling
  • Easy to install
  • Sturdy and customisable

Although pretty popular in the modern world, the history of these ceilings dates back to 14th January. Japan was the first country where this type of ceiling was introduced. In this article, we have a covered history of suspended ceilings in detail. Continue reading further to know more about the history of suspended ceilings.


History of Suspended Ceilings

As stated above, suspended ceilings came into foray for the first time in Japan in the 14th century. They are also said to be used during the Muromachi Period (1337 to 1573). The major reason behind their application was to add aesthetic appeal to a room.

In England, this type of ceiling was first introduced in Blackfriars Theatre in London. This theatre was built in 1596. The purpose of installing a suspended ceiling in this theatre was to improve the sound quality.

The initially used suspended ceilings were not considered to be as effective as they are now. They were built using interlocking tiles. Thus, the area over the tiles was rather difficult to be accessed or inspected for repair or any other purposes. If there are was an issue in the area above the ceiling, it could only be accessed by following a daunting process. This process was initialized by starting from the tile that was located at the edge of the ceiling. After removing the tile at the edge, other subsequent tiles were removed one by one to reach the place that required inspection or repair. In some cases, there was a particular tile, known as a key tile, which was used to start the inspection/repair work. Once started with the key tile, the desired place of inspection was reached in the same way as with the “starting with the edge” process.

After the repair work was completed, all the tiles that were removed to reach this place were to be reinstalled. Thus, it was an expensive and a rather time consuming process that proved to be full of hassles and required ample efforts to be completed.

Donal A. Brown from Westlake filed for a patient on September 8, 1958, for constructing suspended ceiling that offered easy access to areas above it. The biggest plus point of this innovation introduced by Donald A. Brown was that the need of starting with the edge tile or key tile to access the desired area was eliminated. Thus, instead of removing numerous tiles to fix one, one could have a direct access to the tile or the area above it that required repair work.

This patent by Brown was granted on 23rd May 1961. However, the first fully developed grid system concept was introduced by Remmen Bibb. He filed for this patent on October 24, 1950. The modular ceiling was first introduced by Wong, who owned Cepco Manufacturing. In this innovation, he integrated the use of tiles and grids for creating a suspended ceiling. Furthermore, suspended ceiling framework supporting electric lighting fixture was introduced by Fuss in 1958.


Suspended Ceilings – Now & Then

Back in the day, when there was no electricity, suspended ceilings were installed solely for the purpose of adding value to a room and for enhancing its look. In the modern times, their purpose is more than just beautifying a room. They make for an easy way to repair pipes, ducts, and other cables that are placed between the original and false, another name for suspended, ceilings.

Furthermore, in the olden times, there was not much variety available for suspended ceilings. The quality of material used for its manufacturing was also substandard. However, in the current times, there is a wide variety of types of suspended ceilings with each type having its own set of features. Moreover, different materials are used for the manufacturing of these ceilings. The durability of a suspended ceiling depends on the material used for its composition. Suspended ceilings are categorised into different types based on the materials used. These types are:

  • Wooden ceilings
  • Gypsum ceilings
  • Armstrong ceilings
  • PVC ceilings
  • Thermocol ceilings

With the passage of time, the application of suspended ceilings has grown. They are now available and suitable to be used in any type of room. From your home’s bathroom to a corporate office’s conference room, these ceilings are installed to improve their décor. Many people, instead of spending a huge money on repairing their original ceilings, tend to go for suspended ceilings for the purpose of covering its flaws.

Old and worn out ceiling is hidden underneath it. Hence, the room, in which this ceiling is installed gives a modern and contemporary look. The best part of the modern suspended ceilings is that they can be installed by following DIY (do it yourself) methods. This feature further makes them a cost-efficient option for homeowners.


A Final Word

To cut the long story short, suspended ceilings have emerged out to be an effective method to enhance the décor of a room. Their numerous benefits have made them a viable option for adding value to a home and/or commercial set up. Introduced in Japan, these sturdy and durable suspended ceilings have made their way to different parts of the world. They are now found in a huge number of homes and offices across the globe. If you want to have one for your home or office, with the availability of wide range of these tiles, you can easily find a one that goes with the décor of your home and serves the purpose you require.  

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