The heart of the Industrial Revolution, a fast corner into the modern world, began with fabrics. Looms, weaving, and textiles launched a social revolution at the start of the 19th century, and one modern country was there to see it – Dickson.
In 1836, a young Scotsman, David Dickson, headed to northern France to launch a new textile mill. Northern France was already the heart of the fabrics industry for France, but Dickson was something new. Dickson started with linen, but quickly began experimenting with combed fabrics that made new and more durable cottons for ship's sails. By 1840, Dickson was actively cultivating new processes and finishes to make better shipping fabrics.
Dickson merged with American company Glen Raven in 1998 (making it a sister company to US-based Sunbrella), but Dickson has maintained its roots. Its main facilities are still in France, with its largest facility in Wasquehal in the north. Dickson is an international company, though – 70% of its 25,000,000 square meter production is exported.
Two centuries later, Dickson still specializes in high performance outdoor fabrics. Dickson now produces solution-dyed acrylics, a long-lived manmade woven fabric with the softness and versatility of cotton. Acrylic even boasts natural mold- and rot-resistance and vibrant colors (since the dye is part of the fiber itself). Dickson adds the tactile feature of a heavy canvas-style weave and special fabric finishes like Cleargard to enhance the soil-resistance and water repellence of its solution-dyed acrylics. (Cleargard uses fluorine to resist oil and fatty stains, water, and deposits.)
To ensure performance, Dickson fabrics undergo rigorous and detailed testing – like testing the color-fastness of their solution-dyed acrylics with dry friction (like constantly opening and closing a retractable awning).
Dickson offers a 10-year warranty for basic wear on their fabrics, covering fraying and fading in normal weather conditions, from high humidity to scorching sun.
FINDING YOUR FABRIC
RetractableAwnings.com offers 88 different Dickson fabrics in 20 different styles. With so many options, RetractableAwnings.com is committed to helping you find the perfect style for you and your home or office. We offer a number of tools to guide your choices:
- Our exclusive 3D-rendering tool uses pictures of your home, your exact location, and allows you to picture any awning frame or fabric in any size at your location.
- Our intuitive helps you filter fabrics by color and style.
- We always supply free samples of any retractable awning fabric, valance fabric, or trim, so you can see and touch your options before you make up your mind.
Since 2002, the European Union has been devising ways to encourage both individuals and companies to reduce their energy usage. Part of what the EU is emphasizing is passive cooling and heat control because the largest energy use area is heating and cooling. Architects have wildly embraced this, exploring ways to reduce electricity use, and they have turned to the classic European awning.
Dickson fabrics on retractable awnings have been tested and shown to keep buildings cooler, lessening the amount of air conditioning required:
- Indoor temperatures were lowered 4 to 9 degrees Fahrenheit
- Air conditioning use was lowered 30% to 50%
Dickson fabrics achieve some of the highest UV ratings, blocking anywhere from 90% to an astonishing 99% of UV rays. (A 90% UV block rate for the light colored fabrics is stronger than wearing 50 SPF sun screen.) This also moderates brightness, keeping the area under the awning between 1,000 and 5,000 Lux (when the noon sun is 50,000 Lux). Dickson fabrics have also been tested to block 80% to 95% of solar heat energy outdoors.
"Green" policies are really a way of life, a way of being smart in how a company uses things and being efficient in how they do things. That's the mindset behind Dickson's environmental policies:
- Recycling all office and facilities waste products (either for use in other manufacturing processes or by contracting out the waste)
- Energy management planning to reduce electricity
- Reducing gas emissions
- Recycling water
- Regularly maintaining your Dickson fabric makes it easier to clean. We recommend simply hosing it off with a jet of clear water, then brushing it with a soft brush. We strongly advise against using a high-pressure cleaner to wash your fabric. Once cleaned, leave it to dry in the open air. For harder cleaning tasks, we recommend using mild soap or 303 Fabric Cleaner, diluted in warm water. We also recommend that you re-waterproof the fabric with 303 Fabric Guard after each washing.
- ISO 9001 Certified
Dickson fabric specs(pdf)
Dickson fabrics can use a unique system of printing, developed jointly with Sunbrella, 3M, and experienced sign-makers. Sunbrella Graphics System (SGS) uses a specially-designed machine and an innovative ink film to adhere the graphics to the fabric. Through a combination of heat and vacuum sealing, the graphic film has an unusually strong bond to the fabric, which means that the graphics last much longer and have a crisp appearance.
The SGS machine has a flexible graphics interface so the machine can cleanly print any logo, image, text, or shape on the retractable awning fabric.
This service is available through RetractableAwnings.com.