David S. Miller, a San Francisco builder, was a part of this movement. He loved the open-air atriums common to modern design, but felt that that these center courtyards would be even more valuable if they could be protected from weather extremes – rainy winters and too-hot summers. In 1958, on a home nearing completion in the Diamond Heights part of San Francisco, David designed and built a fully-automatic, operable roof over the central atrium. Because this home sold sooner and for a higher price than other similar homes being built in the neighborhood, David knew he had a winner. Homebuyers loved the idea and functionality of retractable roofs and Miller’s home-building business prospered.
By 1963 David’s retractable roof design was polished, and a patent was filed for. Three years later patent 3,277,619 was issued, for “a movable and remotely controllable roof section for houses and other types of buildings.”
By the mid 1960s David’s retractable roof became so well known and was in such great demand that he quit building homes to concentrate on the design, manufacture and installation of Rollamatics.
As an inventor, builder and architect, David welcomed new and challenging projects. Over the next decades the company’s retractable roofs were installed on restaurants, government buildings, office buildings, swimming pools, gymnasiums, hotels, health clubs and apartment buildings. Rollamatic even designed a retractable roof for Candlestick Park, at that time the home field for the San Francisco Giants baseball team and San Francisco 49ers football team. That project was never built, and those that remember David recall him promising to never ever get involved with something as political as a ballpark.
More than a half-century has passed since the first Rollamatic was installed. Our focus remains remotely operated, motorized, medium and large retractable roofs. We don’t do the small hand-operated skylights that you can find at a big-box retailer, and we don’t do stadiums. Instead we specialize in mid-sized and large powered retractable roofs*.