When Were Venetian Blinds Invented


Although blinds seem like they would be a modern invention, the Venetian blinds have been around for several centuries. The first patents for this type of window blind were taken out by Gowin Knight in 1760 in England, while a secondary patent was awarded in 1796 to Edward Beran. The French, however, were using this type of window blind long before that. Even St. Peter’s Church in Philadelphia had Venetian blinds installed in 1761.

Could the invention of these blinds date back to the Venetian people, the great traders that dominated the Mediterranean Sea for several generations? Or does the invention of these blinds lie with a couple British entrepreneurs who discovered a way to make a quick buck?

The Use of Venetian Blinds Dates Back to Ancient Egypt

Even though there are 18th century patents on the design of blinds that are made from horizontal slats that are brought together by corded pulleys, it is the Ancient Egyptians who may have actually invented this unique blind design. They used reeds that were attached in columns and then hung over their windows.

The Ancient Chinese also utilized a similar method, but instead of using reeds, they used bamboo. Over time, this kind of window accessory became popular in the Middle East as well. Were these blinds actually adjustable in the way we think of them being? No one really knows since any cording would have been long lost to the ravages of time.

So how did Venetian blinds get their name if the Venetians weren’t the ones to invent them? It is believed that these traders were the ones who brought the idea of using these blinds from the Middle and Far East to Europe. In France, for example, they are even called “Persian Blinds” instead of Venetian blinds.

Even today, most of these blinds are made from reeds or bamboo, just as our ancestors made their own. Wood options are available, but aren’t always as easy to find.

How Long Have Venetian Blinds Really Been Used?

The popularity of these blinds exploded in the late 18th century, which is what caused a couple entrepreneurs to patent versions of the blind. They were initially used in commercial applications, but they can be seen in a number of famous ways as well. In a 1787 painting of the signing of the US Constitution, for example, there are Venetian blinds that can be seen in the background. The Empire State Building and the Radio City Building also uses these blinds because of their user friendly nature.

If you want to be able to allow light and air inside a home while maintaining a level of privacy, these blinds make that possible in an easy way. Their ability to help regulate a home’s environment while providing a good amount of visual appeal will keep them being one of the top options for years to come as a means of enhancing a home, just as it has been for many of the generations before.

Historic Timeline of Blinds