My guess is you look at yours every day without considering
where they came from and why you have them hanging in your windows. Window treatments
have a rich history, and can be found in some interesting places. Did you know…
Blinds were invented by the Persians, not the Venetians. Venetian merchants
brought them to Europe, and European artists used them in their works, making them extremely popular there in the 15th and 16th centuries. There is also evidence that the Japanese invented Venetian blinds.
earliest form of window treatment was made from animal hide. People who
lived in warmer climates would soak them in water and allow the wind to
blow through the wet material, creating an air conditioner-like effect.
is evidence suggesting that ancient Egyptians tied reeds together and hung
them in openings to create privacy. There is also evidence that the
Chinese were doing this with bamboo.
with slatted blinds were found in Pompeii;
archaeologists uncovered homes containing unmovable marble slats in the
inventor John Hampson was granted the U.S. patent for the tilt
mechanism in 1841. Nearly all blinds hanging today operate using this device.
the beginning of the 19th century, many spoke out against the
use of draperies, saying they were too expensive, too dusty, and too hard
1833 it was recommended that window fabrics match other upholstery in the
room exactly. Ten years later, this concept was thrown out as the “in”
look, and efforts were made for draperies to simply compliment other upholstery
in a room.
became exponentially popular in the 19th century, when textiles
were more readily available due to manufacturing.
families who could afford it always had “fully dressed” windows: valance, cornice,
sheer drapery panels on top of opaque panels, hardware, and tiebacks. Today,
standard draperies include two panels and a rod.
of the most memorable movie moments about draperies both involving turning
old draperies into clothing. Think Scarlet O’Hara and her green velvet dress,
and the von Trapp family children traipsing through Vienna in “nothing but some old drapes.”
famous works of art feature blinds and draperies. Two notable pieces are Lorenzo
Lotto’s Young Man against a White Curtain and Edmund C. Tarbell’s The Venetian Blind.