The History of Window Blinds


Window blinds have been around for centuries to provide protection from the sun, wind, and outdoors. It is believed that window blinds were originally discovered in Egypt, Persia, or China. Ancient desert civilizations, like the Egyptians, used wetted strips of cloth as window blinds to keep out the dirt and sun. In Persia, Venetian blinds were first used from 1100 AD to 1500 AD. The ancient Chinese created window blinds by tying bamboo stalks together. Window blinds, especially Venetian blinds, did not appear in European culture until the early 1700’s. Although they did not originate in Europe, Venetian blinds emerged near Venice, coining the name ‘Venetian blinds.’

During the 1700’s, the popularity of Venetian blind grew immensely throughout France and England. In 1760, Englishman Gowin Knight developed and received a patent for the first ‘Dwarf Venetian blinds.’ A year later, Venetian blinds were installed in St. Peter’s Church in Rome. Meanwhile, in North America, Englishman John Webster began selling ‘ Wooden Venetian Sun Blinds’ in Philadelphia.

Over the years, window blinds grew in popularity and developed in function and style. John Hampson of New Orleans invented a mechanism in 1841 to control the angle of Venetian blind slats, allowing them to adjust the amount of light passing through. After WWII, Venetian blinds took off in popularity and sales, as Hunter Douglas began mass-producing aluminum window blinds in North America.

Window blinds further progressed to different styles. Edward and Frederick Bopp from Kansas City invented and patented the vertical blinds in 1950. Similar to horizontal Venetian blinds, vertical blinds hang from a track and are adjustable to allow in varying amounts of light. In 1970’s, the 1” aluminum “Mini-Blinds” were introduced. Starting in the 1980’s, the wide-slatted wood and faux wood blinds gained popularity throughout the United States.

Meanwhile, Henry Sonnerberg and Joe Hunter founded Hunter Douglas in 1946, and began selling Venetian blinds. Hunter Douglas took off in 1947, with the production of more than 1,000 independent fabricators in the US and Canada. A new louver system was developed in 1975 that provided sun protection while maintaining an aesthetically pleasing look. A few years later, the soft, durable, and highly-energy efficient Duette© Honeycomb Shades were created in 1985. Vignette© Modern Roman Shades were released in 1994, offering a fresh, clean appearance in window blinds. The blinds further improved in 2000, when the LiteRise© cordless system was introduced. Future technology was introduced to allow complete remote control of any window coverings via the Platinum Technology Motorization. In 2011, the Platinum Solar Energy Sensor was invented to detect the amount of solar energy entering the window, and to adjust the window coverings for optimal insulation from heat and cold.

No matter what your taste is in window blinds, Hunter Douglas has the perfect option for you. At Classic Window Coverings, we offer a wide range of Hunter Douglas blinds for your every need. Visit us today to determine the perfect window blinds for your home! We serve Bend, Oregon and the surrounding areas.