Acoustic ceilings, also known as drop ceilings, were initially used to hide building infrastructure, such as HVAC ducts, water and sewer pipes, and more. The dropped ceiling created a space between the ceiling tiles and the ceiling to place much needed ductwork, pipes, and sprinkler systems for fire suppression. The first patent for drop ceilings was applied for in 1919 by E.E. Hall and was granted in 1923, but were only accessible by a “key tile” at the edge of the ceiling. To access a particular area of the ceiling, the key tile needed to be removed and any subsequent tile on the way to the desired area needed to be removed as well. In 1958, Donald A. Brown applied for a patent and in 1961 was granted one for the Accessible Suspended Ceiling Construction, where access could be obtained at any desired location.
Initially these ceiling tiles were of the plain, white, rectangular construction we still use today in many locations, but as time went on designs for acoustic ceilings in Lafayette, LA took off to include many shapes, colors, patterns, and materials. Acoustic control of a space was also an objective of drop ceilings during their creation and evolution into the modern suspended ceilings we know of today.
Modern-day desires for sustainability in construction is a driving force behind many companies who manufacture ceiling tiles today. Using sustainable materials and manufacturing tiles that reflect light reduce energy output of companies and can save money where needed. With the abundance of textures, materials, colors, and designs of drop ceilings available now, companies can get creative and make an inviting, comfortable space for employees and clients or customers.