A Brief History of the Venetian Blind

Woman looking through venetian blindsIt's not every day that we look at objects around our homes “ objects we likely take for granted “ and question where they came from. Well, when your life and expertise revolves around manufacturing and providing blinds and shutters, you start to get a bit curious.  

Where did Venetian Blinds come from? How did they begin?

Not Really from Venice?

The true story of Venetian Blinds and their invention is unknown, but most experts can date accounts of their use back to around 1760 in Venice. However, they were said to have originated in Persia, not Italy. In fact, they might go all the way back to ancient Egypt, as it is well known that the Egyptians were among the first to create blinds from reeds. However, it is known that the Chinese tied together bamboo in a similar fashion to create the same effect. If the Persia legend is true, that means that early Venetian traders had brought the blinds home from Persia. Their fame and use spread to France in the late 1700s when freed Venetian slaves settled there, bringing the shades with them. It is interesting, therefore, that the French refer to Venetians as les Persiennes.

 

Original Manufacturing

Research shows that early Venetian blinds were made of 2-inch wood slats and suspended along cloth ribbons. They have served as a decorative and innovative alternative to curtains since their arrival in the modern world.

 

Spread Across the Western World

From France, the style of Venetian blinds as a creative alternative to curtains spread. People probably enjoyed the slatted view of the outside world that allowed for far more control of light and ventilation in their home than curtains provided, not to mention the interesting new aesthetic. Gowin Knight developed a patent for Edwarf Venetian blinds in the UK in 1760. An Englishman named John Webster began selling wooden Venetian blinds in Philadelphia in 1767 after the blinds' popularity and public debut as a window covering for the windows of St. Peter's Church.

 

Rise in America

Americans caught on quickly to the benefits of wooden Venetian blinds, something they could easily manufacture themselves rather than import from England with high tax. With early Americans being as innovative and inspired as they were, it's easy to understand how most innovations developed quickly there. John Hampson of New Orleans created a mechanism that would control the angle of the slats in 1841, allowing more or less light to filter through and allowing for privacy while still being able to see through them. In 1936, the first aluminium Venetian blinds were created by manufacturer Kirsch. Mass production followed in the 1940s through the Hunter Douglas network of over 1,000 distributors in North America.

 

Venetian Blinds Now with Total Look Blinds Auckland

Still, as popular as ever, you can find Venetians everywhere, from local residences in Auckland to the White House. The style is classic, functional and ultimately timeless.
 

Interested in adding a piece of history to your home décor? Contact Total Look Blinds in Auckland today or request quote and measure on Venetian blinds.