Wooden Blinds - A history

The history of wooden blinds

Wooden blinds

The first advertisement for wooden blinds appeared in The Pennsylvania Journal and Weekly Advertiser in August 1767. The brains behind this ‘newest invention’ belonged to an English upholsterer named John Webster, who excitably sold his ‘Venetian Sun Blinds’ with the words:

‘moves to any position, so as to give different lights, screens from the scorching rays of the sun, draws a cool air in hot weather, draws up as a curtain, and prevents being overlooked, and is the greatest preserver of furniture of anything of the kind ever invented’.

America was clearly impressed and the blinds sold like hot cakes. In fact, they became such a ‘must have’ that even president Thomas Jefferson wanted to get in on the act (reportedly waxing lyrical over their versatility). Colonial America took wooden blinds to its heart and today they are synonymous with one of the finest traditions in American architecture.

Wooden blinds became increasingly commonplace, quickly outdoing curtains thanks to the hefty taxes that were levied on imported fabric. Their growing popularity soon spread across the pond and they seemed almost tailored to match the bold, heavy features of Georgian architecture. However, customers were becoming more demanding in their tastes and began to paint their blinds to match the window surround.

The ornate Victorian era followed and with it the public’s palate became considerably more decorative. Wooden blinds slipped out of vogue, but survived because of their practical usage (affording both privacy and shelter from the sun) and would often be hidden behind more extravagant drapes.

It was not until the mid 20th century that that introduction of metal slats threatened to overshadow the popularity of wooden blinds. However, there’s something timeless and effortlessly stylish about wooden blinds that guarantees that they will be around for a long time to come.

Today wooden blinds come in all shapes, sizes and colors and can be made to fit just about any window that you can imagine. There’s also a growing market for faux wood blinds, although it’s difficult to beat the real thing (as long as you can afford it).







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