The History of Blinds

Most people have probably never been curious about the history of window blinds. Blinds are such common fixtures in houses, offices, restaurants, and really any establishment with windows that they are easily overlooked because of how frequently they are seen. But, window blinds actually have a very interesting history. Blinds that we are accustomed to now, date all the way back to the ancient times of Egypt, China, and Rome.

In ancient desert civilizations cloth was saturated with water and laid over the coverings of huts and tents. These strips of cloth helped keep the outside weather conditions outdoors by blocking rain and keeping the hut or tent cool when the temperatures were high.

It was the Egyptians, surrounded by deserts and scorching heat, that picked up on this technique and modified it to suit their needs. Instead of cloth, the Egyptians used reeds from the water banks, strung together and hung to cover windows. These reeds could be adjusted in height, like a roller blind, to allow more or less coverage of the window or opening, which provided some temperature and light control inside their dwellings. This technique of tying plants together to make window coverings was also picked up by the Chinese culture, but with bamboo rods, which were found in abundance in their area. The Romans used this style of blind also, but with cloth.

Persian merchants later introduced the “Venetian” blind to Venice. At this time, the blinds were usually made of cloth and strung together in a ladder-like formation. These Venetian blinds are very similar in style to the type of Venetian blinds that are still popular today. The trend in Venice exploded and by 1767 the blinds were being sold in the United States, by John Webster, though Edward Bevan, an Englishman, did not patent them until 1769. Years later, in 1841 John Hampson of New Orleans, Louisiana patented the mechanism for adjusting the angle of the slats in the blinds.

By 1946 Hunter Douglas began producing aluminum window blinds and with this innovative technique their company boomed. Only a year later they had over 1,000 distributors of their aluminum products in the United States. Not long after, a wide variety of materials were being used for the slats in windows, sizes of the flats ranged, and by 1980 the motorized and remote controlled blinds began their development in the United States as well.

The history of window blinds, though one would assume to be boring, is actually quite interesting and expansive. Window blinds have been around longer than actual glass windows, they have been made of a wide variety of materials, and have gone through many designs changes since they were first invented back in ancient desert times. Here at PSI Window Coverings we understand how important blinds are to a home. Blinds are important to us, their history is important to us, and we want to help you make the best decision for your home with our wide variety of products that have withstood the test of time. Hunter Douglas played a large part in the history of blinds for the United States and PSI is proud to be the largest Hunter Douglas showroom in Arizona. As the industry has changed, and as it continues changing, PSI has kept up with the trends and we don’t plan to stop.