Have you ever wondered why the things hiding your windows are called “blinds” or the story behind their evolution? When we refer to “blind” others know what we are talking about – of course, because they are the most common type of window covering to date. But one blind isn’t always the same as the other; there are different sorts, styles, and types. All of them with their own history.
These days we have a multitude of window covering choices depending on our demands, whether it is easy use, aesthetics, functionality or visibility. Venetian blinds, Roman blinds, and vertical blinds are all popular choices. Of course, given we are in the age of technology, it is increasingly common to see mechanically operated blinds and automatic lighting systems that create a more effective window coverage than ever before.
Where else do all world-wide trends start, but the major cities in Europe? Blinds travelled to cities like London and Paris, which were epicentres for fashionable and forward-facing trends. In the mid seventeen hundreds, an Englishman patented the Venetian blind in London, though it is widely known that this kind of blind had already been installed throughout Rome for nearly a decade. It wasn’t long before blinds were found in most European households.
Traders from the world over reached the shores of Europe, and with them came textiles and house-hold items (like window blinds) of an exciting calibre. Persian window coverings were adapted in Venice to become the traditional Venetian blind, where a series of slats was drawn with a chord. Their popularity was probably so endemic because blinds significantly improved their general quality of life—it meant people could be selective about what elements came through their windows like light, heat, cold, and wind.
Before looks were a factor, window coverings were all about practicality with a basic need for keeping people alive and healthy. People living in primitive dwellings needed to escape the sun, or perish. It was almost like life or death, window covers—the beginnings of the idea of a “blind”—were used over doorways in the form of bamboo or animal hides. The Egyptians were probably the first collective peoples to incorporate blinds in their homes, which makes sense due to the harsh conditions of their environment.