Many of us are history buffs and relate to the past through films in addition to books. Regardless of the historical setting, be that war scenes, American western stories or true life documentaries, among the antique furnishings and old fashioned cars, there always seem to be the popular wood blind covering the window or door. From movie’s Elliot Ness’ office to television’s Mr. McCoy’s DA setting, the wood blind has been an American part of history and continues today as a popular product which does not seem to go away and most likely never will.
So called venetian blinds were invented hundreds of years ago. Factually, horizontal adjusting blinds are known to be over five hundred years old or older. The modern horizontal blind, with the exception of its horizontal design, is hardly similar to their ancient cousin. Horizontal blinds of recent times operated with simple and limited components which hardly resemble today’s blind controls. In earlier days, pulleys were used to tilt the horizontal slats which directed the top slat to tilt and this action tilted the rest of the slats. Older blinds were raised using a cord/pulley system and said cord was then tied to any device mounted on the wall or through an improvised knot at the desired spot on the cord itself.
The development of modern operating components such as cord tilters and cord locks have replaced the old and cumbersome components of the past if we can refer to these old fashioned parts as such. The use of wands was highly popular in the last half of the twentieth century as a tilting device, but it has also been replaced with the easier, more aesthetically pleasing cord tilter which increases its functionality and reduces the cost of fabrication. Modern horizontal blinds are now raised and stopped at any desired point by the use of a cord locking mechanism replacing the old way of tying the cord to an exterior device. Once again improving the overall appearance of the horizontal blind.
The modern, state of the art wood blind, available in real wood or imitation wood known in the industry as fauxwood, is now considered a part of the decor and its appearance plays a much, bigger role in decorating than in any past period. There was a time when most horizontal blinds were made of metal, mostly aluminum, but the popularity of aluminum blinds, be that 1? Or 2? Slats, has been replaced with either wood or fauxwood blinds. The obvious reason being the fact that either real wood or fauxwood blinds are able to create an atmosphere which ranges from the Victorian to the modern times.
The advent of wood and tile flooring versus carpeting has also tremendously contributed to the popularity of wood or fauxwood horizontal blinds as part of the American decor. There were times when shag carpeting rule the flooring world in the American home but those times are long gone and now flooring is made from many hardwoods even including Bamboo. Tiles are available in many sizes, designs and colors to meet all demands. Both wood and tile flooring are much easier to maintain and their longevity far surpasses carpeting as the material of choice. Thus the soaring popularity of horizontal wood/fauxwood blinds which are also available in many colors and sizes.
Not too long ago, wood and fauxwood blinds made an entry into the commercial world and became popular in restaurants, offices, etc. and for a while it was seen as a non-residential product but this trend was short lived when people came to the realization that wood/fauxwood blinds are just a beautiful product which also encompass a high degree of functionality. The combination of these two factors brought back it’s once lost popularity.
The popularity of wood and fauxwood blinds was a major contributor to the increased demand for interior plantation shutters. However, shutters are exponentially more expensive that wood or fauxwood horizontal blinds and for this reason the popularity of shutters is not comparable to horizontal blinds, especially with the introduction of the so called shutter blinds which incorporates a wider slat thus creating a shutter-like appearance.
Life is a circle and horizontal blinds, wood or fauxwood, are back as part of the American decorating landscape, taking us, in our minds, back to any period of time in history which happens to suit our mood. Perhaps, unbeknownst to us, Elliot Ness is still with us somehow.