Have you ever looked at your window décor and wondered how they came to be? Humans constructed windows and coverings for specific purposes during early civilisations. Over time, window coverings and their designs evolved to suit the needs of homes, offices and spaces requiring special solutions. With changes in lifestyle, technology and modernisation, we will see even more adjustments yet to come. Delve into the history and origins of window treatments with us.
Enter the world of window treatments
When considering the scope of window treatments available today, you are spoiled for choice. Blinds range from variations of the Venetian blind, including materials like durawood, aluminium, PVC, basswood and fauxwood. Then there are both the roller and bamboo blinds. Not to mention the variety of shutters available and an assortment of curtains and accessories too. With such a wide selection of window coverings available, it’s no wonder that the customisation options are endless. But it wasn’t always like this. The history of window coverings started with humble beginnings.
Early window treatments: where did they come from?
The earliest window coverings take us back to ancient Egypt. Rudimentary buildings featured carved out windows and its inhabitants resorted to using reeds to create woven coverings. A continent away, ancient China cleverly made use of one of their more easily accessible materials — bamboo. Over time, bamboo proved to be such a great medium for not only window coverings, but as a renewable resource to so many manufacturers beyond the world of window décor.
Many years later, slatted blinds came into existence in Persia (now known as Syria). Early Italian explorers and traders took this idea and introduced it to the cities of Venice and Paris. As a result of their adoption into Venetian homes, the horizontal slatted design was coined as ‘Venetian blinds’, but they are, in fact, more Persian than Venetian! The French refer to these blinds by their Persian origins and call them ‘Les persiennes’, which when translated, actually means ‘shutters’.
Once the popularity of these exotic blinds caught on, many innovators sought to improve the look and function of the Venetian blind. The first patents trace back to 1769 in London, England under the name Edward Bevan. Then 72 years later and a continent away in New Orleans, John Hampson thought up a way to control the angle of the blind slats with a mechanism he created. Nearly a century later, the Kirsch company created the aluminium blind in 1936.
At the same time blinds were being further developed and improved, the concept of shutters also evolved. Shutters first made their appearance in Greece to combat the Mediterranean heat. Their early designs consisted of marble shutter and fixed louvres, and soon got replaced by wooden features to make the louvre shutters moveable. As the interest in shutters as a window treatment solution spread globally over time, their designs and function further diversified.
In ancient Egypt, animal hides served as both rudimentary curtains and coverings for doorways. These coverings evolved from hides to textiles crafted from flax and linen, later using harvested materials like wool, silk and cotton. Early curtains are traced to Pompeii, where they used portières to serve as room dividers.
In the Middle ages, similar dividers prevented drafts and kept the heat in rooms. Over the centuries, curtaining became more elaborate with drapes, designs and patterns. However, with the World Wars, imposed rationing on fabric meant resorting to using obscure materials like parachute or mattress fabrics which, it’s been alluded to, has led to the more simplistic draperies of today.
Modern window treatments of today
As window coverings continue to evolve, they provide more and more functional benefits than just filtering out the heat, light and providing privacy. They now offer the convenience of automated systems and advantage of added security, an ideal addition for the modern South African home.
When you choose custom made blinds as your window treatment solution, you have the option to fully automate and operate them with just a touch of a button. Automated roller blinds come in a range of styles, fabrics and the ease of professional measurement and installation services. Hot summer days are so much easier to bear with convenient and accessible blinds control options.
Shutters also provide solid reinforcement perfect for any space. Our security shutters are sleek and strong, made of premium aluminium coated with a Qualicoat powder finish. They come in full security and lockable Lite options while having a convenient stowing feature when they are not in use. Handsome, secure and hassle-free? Yes, please.
Choose your favourite window treatments
Now when you select your next window treatments, you can do so with an understanding of their history — and we can only wonder what will be next. To give your home a classic look or a modern feel, browse our DIY window décor catalogue as well as our shutters catalogue. For advice with your decision, contact us.