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A tin shingle roof can be found in many parts of the country. On some homes, this style was installed to compliment the more ornate Victorian trend. On others, the original owners decided on embossed tin shingles from a practical economical motive. And some of our ancestors wanted to upscale their residences. Today we call this last group Yuppies.
The Victorian era was a period of bold statements, not demur expressions, in their architecture. Victorians enjoyed their homes. Gingerbread houses date from this time period. And the Queen Anne house was revered for its accomplishments and merriment. Towers, haphazard windows, ornaments and a profusion of details characterize these structures. Tin shingle roofs with their whimsical designs compliment this frame of mind
In some areas, a tin shingle roof was installed for practical reasons. With the explosion of our sheet metal industry after the Civil War and the proliferation of the railroad system, metal shingles became reasonable in cost and availability. Plus, a tin shingle roof was more fire resistant compared to a cedar shake surface. Indeed, one of our customers talked about how two of his ancestors promoted the use of tin shingles in New Jersey. One gentleman was an insurance agent, offering a discount on home insurance if the roof was metal, and the other gentleman was a construction contractor. More than a few homeowners have been surprised to discover a cedar shake roof under their metal shingles.
Some tin shingle roof owners of our past era just wanted to upscale their living quarters. Copper, slate and tile alternatives were more expensive. Standing seam roofs were popular, but just to distinguish themselves, tin shingles were a bolder choice for these homeowners. Those bold homeowners were the "yuppies" of their day.