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.