Let There Be Light! – The History of Venetian Blinds


Do you ever sit at home, admiring the culture and architecture around you and simply think – I wonder when this was invented? At Barnes Blinds we refuse to draw the curtains on our origins, in fact, we believe a little history can be rather fun!

Venetian Blinds for example – what do we actually know about them from a history standpoint?

Let Barnes Blinds fill in the blanks for you with some bite size blind knowledge!

  • Despite popular misconception, Venetian Blinds are in fact of Persian origin.
  • Venetian is of course a romance language largely spoken in Italy and it was Venetian traders who brought over the original blueprints for such a design from Persia.
  • Blinds, albeit in a fixed and primitive form were present in ancient Egypt and China. These were likely formed with either reeds or bamboo.
  • The exact year these blinds began being traded internationally is unknown but it is believed they quickly gained popularity in Europe after Middle Eastern and European trade became common on the Eastern Italian Coast many centuries ago.
  • Venetian Blinds with wooden slats first appeared state side in 1761 when St. Peters Church in Philadelphia used them to compliment their large windows.
  • Six years later, a gentleman from London named John Webster began trading wooden venetian blinds from his Philadelphia upholstery shop. These are said to have been particularly popular by 1767.
  • Did you know that venetian blinds can be seen in the background of the Independence Hall throughout illustrations of the signing of the declaration of independence? This of course took place in Philadelphia during 1766 which would make perfect sense when considering other early records of venetian blind use.
  • It was not until 1841 that John Hampston of New Orleans developed a mechanism that would allow the consumer to control the angle of blind slats.
  • Throughout the late 1700’s and 1800’s venetian blinds became increasingly popular in the US and Europe among the wealthy – particularly within churches, public buildings and upper class retailers.

Today, the Venetian blind remains as popular as ever with technological advancements still coming thick and fast from designers around the globe. In fact, aluminium blinds which remain popular today were only introduced as recently as 1936 by Kirsch; yet we’ve evidently made a few tweaks here and there since then.venetian 2

To explore Barnes Blinds range in person, why not visit our Kidsgrove and Hanley showrooms in Stoke-on-Trent? You can also explore a selection of our Venetian Blinds online.

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