The history of slatted blinds is not completely clear, but it is believed the concept was discovered thousands of years ago by the Egyptians, although they were probably only made of fixed slat material. After that, it is thought that the concept and designed moved to perhaps Persia, China or India. As legend has it, the great explorer Marco Polo brought them back from China in the late 1200’s, but this is speculative as he does not mention anything like that in his journals.
Whatever the truth is, in the early 1700’s they appear along the European trading routes, in particular on the Eastern Italian coast, near Venice. This is probably where they received the popular name ‘Venetian Blinds’.
During the colonial era of the 1700’s Venetian Blinds grew in popularity in wealthier houses, shops, churches and public buildings, especially in France, England and their colonies. We can see this in the paintings and illustrations of the time, as seen here in an early American illustration:
Here’s a brief timeline of notable Venetian Blind history:
- 1757 – A French craftsman advertised blinds with adjustable slats
- 1760 – Installed in St. Peter’s Church, Rome
- 1767 – Englishman John Webster started selling them from his upholstery shop in Philadelphia
- 1769 – Edward Bevan patented the first Venetian Blind, London England
- 1841 – John Hampson invented a mechanism for controlling the angle of Venetian Blind slats, New Orleans
- 1936 – Introduction of the aluminum Venetian Blind by Kirsch
Mass production of window blinds began just after the end of WWII through Hunter Douglas’s network of over 1000 distributors in North America. Window blind design underwent a major redesign in the 1970’s with the introduction of the 1” aluminum ‘Mini-Blind’. This smaller, lighter, and cheaper version of the Venetian Blind further expanded the window blind market. In the 80’s and 90’s the resurgence of wide slatted blinds such as various wood and faux wood types, have made slatted blinds more popular that ever. Today, they have taken hold of the window covering market, and are vastly more popular that soft window coverings such as draperies.
The industry which has grown up with this trend includes worldwide manufacturing of these products. Window blind distribution includes networks from large retail outlets to small mom & pop home businesses. Of particular interest to us here at Fix My Blinds is the huge variety of blind types and brands which have existed and currently exist in the market today. This has led us to carry literally hundreds of different parts to service the millions of window blinds that are out there – a task that we find both challenging and rewarding.
Unlike recycling, where a product is returned to a previous state and then remade into something new, repurposing is where an item is reused in a different way because it has value ‘as is’. Items such as used furniture, building materials, discarded industrial byproducts, food industry items, various manufacturing byproducts, packing/shipping materials, etc, are all areas to look at for items that can be repurposed. It’s really amazing the things people have come up with as far as using items once thought to be only fit for recycling or a land fill.
While recycling materials is preferable to a landfill, repurposing is by far an even more environmentally superior way of dealing with used materials. Here’s a video of one company that actually specializes in repurposed materials:
Here’s a great website with various projects for the average DIY’er using repurposed materials:
As a DIY’er, I think it’s good to look at items and materials in regards to how they can be reused, or repurposed. Doing so will open a whole world of possibilities, save money, and help the environment.
Here’s a new video on building your own roller shade:
This video will demonstrate in detail how you can successfully build your own custom Roller Shade.
Fix My Blinds sells various Roller Shade Kits here.
Fusing string is a very helpful technique to know when doing blind repairs and can be also used for other projects that use polyester sting. This technique does not work on cotton string, or other non-synthetic string.
First, place the 2 ends together as shown:
Second, with a lighter, burn the 2 ends until they start to melt:
Finally, roll the melted ends of the 2 strings together:
Be careful as the melted string will be hot, so do the last step fast. You might even want to wet your fingers before the last step.
To the DIY’ers great delight, Youtube instructional video’s have exploded over the last decade. You can find instructions to repair just about anything – for FREE!! There are many Youtube channels dedicated to home improvement and repair, car repair, computer repair, and assembly of just about anything. Some of these video’s are produced by companies that are explaining how to use the products they sell to the public at large. This is the case with us here at Fix My Blinds, as well as the big box stores who sell various other items. Instructional video’s are also produced by average people who just want to show the world how to do something. Either way, it is good to support these videos, and the people who produce them, by sharing them or providing feedback when you can. I can tell you that it is much appreciated to know that the video’s we produce here at Fix My Blinds are used and appreciated.
Here are some instructional video’s for various repairs:
How to Fix a Leaky Faucet with a Single Handle Design
Official iPhone 4S Screen / LCD Replacement Video & Instructions
How to fix a small dent
How To: Restring A Weedeater
How to Restring a Horizontal Wood Blind
Of course we had to include one of our many Youtube instructional video’s. :)
Just in the last several decades, we have seen the meteoric rise of home improvement stores. The success of stores like Home Depot, Lowes, Menards, and others, proves they have captured a market that was there, just waiting to be tapped. Along with this has come the rise of the ‘Do-it-Yourself-er’, that is, people who are willing to tackle all sorts of ‘home improvement’ project because of the easy access of supplies from these stores, as well as the wealth of information that can be accessed for free on the Internet and other places.
One particular niche that these stores have taken advantage of is semi-custom blinds. Many of these stores stock a range of the most popular blinds found in most homes. Customers can measure their own windows, go to the store, pick out the blinds they want and have them cut to size with special machinery at the store. They can then take them home and install them themselves – saving money over professional installation.
Here are a few video’s on how to install typical blinds purchased at a home improvement store:
As evidenced by recent weather, it looks like Fall is upon us. As Winter approaches, there are things you can do to increase the energy efficiency of your home. Here are some tips you can employ to save energy and money this Fall and Winter:
- Check your windows for any drafts around the frames. Then, seal them with a good quality caulk.
- Add insulation to your attic. Although this can be a big project, it can make a huge difference in heat loss in the winter, or heat gain in summer.
- Consider buying insulated window coverings such as Honeycomb Shades. Check out Blinds.com for great pricing!
- Open the window coverings on south and west facing windows on sunny days. This will allow the sun to naturally heat those areas.
- Set your thermostat back 10 to 15 degrees while you sleep to save up to 10% your utility bill.
- Have your heater cleaned and change the filter at least every 2 months.
Doing some or all of these can add up to a warmer home and some nice savings on your energy bill!
Restringing a vertical blind is necessary when the string becomes frayed or broken. The string that runs through a vertical blind headrail needs to be in good condition for it to flow through the many guides and pulleys which exist inside. Fix My Blinds has several helps when it comes to this type of repair. Here are a couple video’s:
We also have several diagrams which show different examples of how string is routed through a headrail. Those diagrams can be found in this another blog post here.
Changing the pull strings in a cord tilt mechanism can be necessary if the string breaks, or, if you desire a new color string. Here’s a couple video’s on how to change the string in a cord tilt mechanism. These techniques can also be used for de-tangling the string in the tilter as well: