Where were Venetian Blinds Invented?

Updated April 17, 2017

Although people might presume, judging from the name, that Venetian blinds were invented in Venice, earlier versions of them have been known to exist in other parts of the world for thousands of years. Nevertheless, such window accessories are well known for their functional value.


Venetian blinds consist of horizontal slats joined together by corded pulleys that can either gather all the slats at the top of the window, or simply let them loose to cover it entirely. To manipulate the blinds when covering the window, there is an ultra-thin cylindrical metal or plastic piece that can either turn the slats to become parallel with the window sill, or turn them flat against one another. Venetian blinds are usually made of vinyl or metal.

Early Origins

The origins of Venetian blinds goes back to ancient times. The early Egyptians attached reeds in columns and hung them over their windows, and the Chinese used bamboos in a similar way. Eventually, such window accessories were in wide use in the Middle and Far East.

"Venetian Blinds"

Venetian blinds derives its name from the traders from the Italian city of Venice who brought the idea to Europe from Persia. The French, in honour of the accessory's place of origin, called the window accessory "Les Persienes." Today, even though a few Venetian blinds are made of wood, most times such blinds are referred to as wooden blinds or bamboo blinds.

Growth of Popularity

John Webster began the commercial use and appeal of Venetian blinds in 1767 by advertising them; and fellow Londoner Edward Beran patented them in 1769. Even preceding that, St. Peter's Church in Philadelphia, donned them in 1761. Venetian blinds began to appear in illustrations, such as that of the Independence Hall in Philadelphia at the time of signing of the Declaration of Independence and the J. L. Gerome Ferris painting entitled "The Visit of Paul Jones to the Constitutional Convention" (1787). Other notable uses of Venetian blinds are in Rockefeller Center's Radio City Building and the Empire State Building, both in New York. From the late 19th century through the 20th century, the application of Venetian blinds grew as they were adopted in office buildings throughout the world.

Appeal of Function

Venetian blinds are a technical improvement over the cloth shading systems that had previously been in use, mainly because they are more effective in regulating light and air. With them, you can move the slats to the top to reveal the window view or let them cover the window for optimal privacy. Also, you can angle them to allow light (and air, while leaving the windows open) while maintaining some level of privacy, or turn them flat to completely block light from the outside.

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About the Author

Based in the D.C. area, Andy Joseph works full-time as a data analyst and technical writer. He has been writing articles about technology, health, politics, music, culture and automobiles since 2007. His work has appeared in The Express, Congressional Report and Road & Track. He has a master's degree in journalism and technology management.