The Invention And History Of Blinds
While it isn’t crystal clear exactly how blinds came about or who invented them, there is reason to believe that the concept of blinds was first discovered by the Egyptians thousands of years ago. At that time, their blinds were likely very minimalistic, comprised merely of fixed slats. Later, it is believed that this early blinds style was later developed in India, Persia, or China.
The history of early conceptions and designs of blinds are more reliable in the era of the early 1700’s, where they appeared along various European trading routes, specifically near Venice along the Eastern Italian coast. Anyone who knows blinds will see the connection between Venice and the popular name “Venetian” blinds.
These blinds later became more popular throughout the colonial era of the 1700’s in French and English colonies. Blinds were at that time a high class luxury, appearing in churches, large houses, and public buildings. Early paintings and illustrations of this time period make it clear that blinds were a common part of wealthy classes in these regions.
Window blinds began to be mass produced following the end of World War 2. In North America, blinds were produced through more than 1,000 distributors owned by Hunter Douglas.
One of the biggest window blind redesigns was in the 1970’s, with the creation of the 1 Inch Mini Blind. This made blinds smaller, lighter, and more affordable. However, after about ten to twenty years, traditional blinds began to be seen as more stylish and valuable, and thus the old style of wide slat blinds made a big comeback during the 80’s and 90’s.
Different Kinds Of Blinds
As stated above, there are two main kinds of blinds that most people immediately recognize: traditional, wide slat blinds and the lighter, 1 Inch blinds. However, there are many different kinds of blinds within each respective category, as well as blinds that don’t quite fit into either.
- Vertical Blinds – These blinds hang vertically from a horizontal track at the top of the window. Some forms of vertical blinds open by being parted from the middle, and some by opening from side to side. These make great additions to floor-to-ceiling windows and patio doors.
- Venetian Blinds – This is easily the most popular blind design, with horizontal slats attached together with string or tapes (strips of cloth). You can open or close these blinds, or raise them entirely.
- Mini Blinds (or 1 Inch Blinds) – These are closely related to Venetian blinds, however the slats are much smaller in width.
- Micro Blinds – As the name implies, these are simply smaller versions of mini blinds, each slat being about ½ inch thick.
- Panel Blinds – These also make great additions to patio doors and large windows, as they are a vertical blinds in sections that move along a track.
Blinds also come in a wide variety of materials, making it easy for modern homeowners and business owners to find the perfect blinds to accommodate their taste. These materials include:
- Wood – This is one of the most popular choices for blind material, as wood gives blinds a natural look and creates a warm feel to a room. Wood blinds are also available in a wide variety of stains, wood types, and colors. Wood blinds should be avoided in rooms with high amounts of moisture and humidity, as wood tends to expand and contract over time due to water exposure, which results in damage.
- Faux Wood – These are designed to be indistinguishable from natural wood blinds, providing all of the same aesthetic appeal with the added benefit of being able to be placed in virtually any room in the home, including bathrooms and other areas with high humidity. Faux wood blinds have also become a popular choice due to their durability.
- Plastic Blinds – Easily the most affordable blind material, plastic blinds come in all sizes and colors, and can be used in any room of the home.
Some of the most trusted and professional blind manufacturers include:
- Hunter Douglas
Beyond Light And Privacy Control
While blinds are the ideal solution to bright days, and for securing your privacy within the home, blinds can also be used to save money by conserving energy year round. This is accomplished when you use your blinds to keep your home cooler during the summer and warmer during the winter, so you aren’t turning up your air conditioner or heating systems more than you need to.
It’s important to remember this simple rule when using blinds to maximize your home’s energy saving potential:
- Dark colors absorb light and heat
- Bright colors reflect light and heat
With this rule in mind, let’s explore how using each color at certain times of the year can save you money.
- In the summer, install brightly colored blinds and keep them closed during most of the day, particularly in rooms where sunlight is directly shining. Later at night, leave your blinds and windows open so that any heat that has entered your home can escape through the windows.
- In the winter, install dark colored blinds and keep them open in areas where sun is directly shining, and closed where it is not, as this will help draw in as much heat into your home as possible. Then at night you should keep them closed to mitigate the amount of heat that leaves your home through your windows.
Always be sure to keep your blinds installed as tightly and snugly against your windows as possible to get the most out of them throughout the year.