What came first? Was it blinds? Shades? Or Shutters? History is a fascinating subject in every industry. We always love new and exciting research topics and archeological finds. You might think what we do can get boring at times, but it’s quite the opposite. In this industry we’re constantly designing new elements, components, and materials to bring to the market. While also enhancing the quality of our products. And a lot of the time, we look into the past for guidance and fresh ideas. Which is why we’re excited to share a brief history on the origin of blinds, shades and shutters.
Looking into the past, we can find evidence of man-made window treatments as far back as the Sumerians in the Fertile Crescent region of present-day Iraq. In a combination of illustrations with cuneiform text. We can see that this ancient civilization utilized what appears to be strips of cloth or leather which was hanged from openings. This provided a means to block sunlight while allowing air to circulate within. Later in Egypt, it was recorded that reeds would be bounded together to form mats. And these mats were used to cover window openings.
The first official evidence wouldn’t appear until ancient Greece. Along the Mediterranean coast, where the inhabitants would use thin marble slabs with lateral cuts to allow airflow. Resembling modern day shutters. Later we see that the Romans would use woven wood mats tied along the edges with strings. This would be hung in open windows and could be raised and lowered by folding into itself. We still use a similar technology in a product affectionately referred to as Roman Shades.
Both Roman and Greek technology would advance. Resulting in shared knowledge that would lead to what we know today as wooden shutters with louvered panels… But that’s not the whole story, not exactly anyways. Roman shades became far more popular over the centuries because of cost and logistics, they were easier to make and transport over long distances throughout Roman provinces at the time.
It wasn’t until the Middle Ages that we would see popularity of shutters rise into common use amongst the upper class, as a covering for large window openings in fort and castles. During this period is when we start to see moveable louvered panels come into existence, offering privacy and the ability to “peak” outside without being noticed. Even the word for Louver was coined at this time to indicate a skylight or structure that allows light to enter.
Later in history, we can see how technology was shared across continents and Empires as powers expanded into the new world. The Caribbean and southern coastal areas of the America’s saw a resurgence in the popularity of Shutters arise out necessity for keeping the hot sun out while letting the cool breeze in.
So, which one came first? The shade, the blind, or the shutter? Well, that’s easy isn’t it?