History of Window Blinds


Ancient desert civilizations were the first to use a type of window blind. They used strips of cloth they would wet with water and hang them over the window opening. As the breeze blew into the window these wet strips actually cooled the air and made a beginning form of air conditioning. These strips also kept out the intense light and heat of the day. In the river civilizations such as around the Nile, reeds were used to make mats that could be hung at the window and rolled up or down. These mats were the beginnings of today’s woven roller shades. In China they made roller blinds by using pieces of bamboo tied tightly together. The ancient Romans created the original Roman Shades by using strips of cloth tied together. In each instance, local people used the materials in their surroundings to modify and change their environment and make their homes more comfortable.

 As time progressed, we see the early European civilizations using venetian blinds. Although they are named after Venice and were very popular there, they were actually invented in Persia. They were brought to Italy by traders. The early venetian blind used same length slats of wood linked together with a string ladder. This allowed the slats to be lowered and raised with a cord just like today’s mini blinds. These types of blinds became very popular, making their way to Spain and France through the slave trade. By the mid 1700’s it was common to find them in popular use all over Europe.


 Many improvements have been made to blinds over the years. Increased functionality now allows you to tilt the slats to adjust for the amount of light you wish to have and the amount of airflow. Various materials that were used throughout history such as the original cloth strips, bamboo, and reeds, have given way to today’s wood, aluminum, vinyl and fabric materials. In the mid 1900’s, Hunter Douglas was the first company ever to mass produce blinds. The aluminum window blind was sold by distributors who would sell them by day and assemble them by night to deliver to their customers. In the 50’s the new vertical blind became the latest rage, followed by mini blinds in the 70’s. The addition of vinyl replacing much of the aluminum happened in the 80’s. These changes replaced what had been used for years with newer materials, functions, and colors.


 Today there are even more modern changes available when deciding on window treatments. Modern mini blinds come in aluminum or vinyl, you can get shutters or wood blinds made of real wood, composite material or vinyl, vertical blinds are available in a wide array of fabrics and vane widths, and roman shades are available in varying fabrics and lifting systems. The incredible invention of Luminettes, and Silhouettes allows you to have sheer window coverings with closeable cloth slats either vertically or horizontally. The latest and greatest in window blind inventions is the smart home technology. You can have blinds that open at specified times of the day and open or close to the exact degree you choose. All this can be controlled from a home controller or remotely from your iPhone. Window blinds are sure to continue to be one of the most important parts of your home décor. As history continues, new developments and inventions will continue to make advances and conveniences available to consumers. Hunter Douglas is the world leader in innovation and design. Come see what’s new at Murray Floor and Window Coverings in Billings, Montana. Customer service is out highest priority.

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