The ancient history of cheap blinds is shrouded in mystery. The Chinese and Egyptian are among the earliest known creators of blinds in their homes, according to archaeological finds. On the banks of the Nile, the Egyptians harvested reeds to make their early blinds. The Chinese did the same with Bamboo. These materials were woven into raffia-style mats that were then hung in front of windows. Some accounts claim that these early roller-blinds could even be lowered much like our own. Accounts of ‘blinding’ techniques from other desert civilizations are also important to how blinds developed. Wetted cloths can be used to cover up windows as a simple but practical blind. This ensured that sun and heat were kept from the room. By weaving wooden slats into long fabric sheets, the Romans gave us ‘Roman Blinds’, continuing the legacy of the fabric blind. People still rely on these blinds for a homely, Mediterranean feel in their homes, thousands of years after their original creation. As the wheel of time has turned, the Fabric blind has become ever more popular internationally. Thicker fabrics nowadays give us roller blinds and Blackout blinds.
The history of slatted wooden blinds is somewhat more complex, but certainly not any less fascinating. One important invention that plays its roll in window blind development is the ‘Louvrer’, a chimney feature or upper window over a kitchen in houses built in the middle ages. This feature allowed steam to escape the house, whilst keeping rain and snow outside. This design, sometimes featuring slanted wooden slats, came to be used as a feature in the windows of many houses. Slightly after the Middle ages, in the Middle East, the Venetian blind was basically invented by the Persians. However, they are considered ‘Venetian’ in the western world because traders didn’t bring them into Europe until the 18th Century, where English speaking countries discovered them. However, these original examples were likely to have been made of fabric instead of wood. It is likely that the Louvrer was the main inspiration behind this switch moving into the 20th Century, though a whole number of influences could have contributed. Well, fancy that.