Tent Rental Division 1968-present

Advances in tenting over the last 40 years


The need for tents is ageless; beginning with a basic need to provide protection from the elements to adding a canopy of wonders at the circus.

It was a humble beginning with tops made of cotton canvas material, stakes made of wood and ropes made of hemp. The process grew to include rebar, axels, manila, sisal block and tackle systems.
Humble beginnings

As the systems advanced, the number of uses and the size of tents increased. Therefore, the big top was born. The giant utilized flying quarter poles, had rounded ends and came in a variety of colors; baby blue, khaki, orange and red. Despite its size, the big top was assembled by pure manpower.

Even after the creation of the big top, tent makers moved toward bigger and better structures. Canvas tops changed to flame-retardant, vinyl-laminated fabrics, making the coverings safer and more versatile. Ropes evolved to polypropylene, nylon, polyester or polyester blends. The center poles, once made from wood, were now steel or aluminum.

These new materials coupled with the development of engineered truss and ratchet systems allowed faster and safer tent construction. Because of these high-tech truss systems, circus tents are able to have high, eye-catching peaks.

A tent’s tall peaks have always set these structures above basic buildings, but they also create the distinct look a tent brings to the event that sets it apart. Whether the coverings are striped or white, they are consistently strung tight and maintained well. The advances in tent materials create a structure that is strong, resilient and reliable.

It may seem as though the range of tents have found its limit, but as technology advances, so does the possibility for a bigger, better, more exotic tent. For tent engineers, there is a never-ending search for new and different structures.

The structure is not the only interest of tent creators. There is also the opportunity to expand decorating options. An addition of lighting, draping and liners as well as permanent, semi-permanent and temporary applications can expand the look of a venue exponentially.

Recently, there was a development in air-supported structures; many stadiums utilize this technology. This type of tent creates a larger area covered as well as another option when deciding on what type of structure to use at any given event.

As tents continue to push the limits of gravity, it is important to remember their once humble beginning as a construct of wood, canvas and rope. From protection to amusement, these complex structures continue to push the limits and reach to touch the sky.