Thursday, November 21, 2013


Not by the light, or even blindsided, blindfolded, or up a blind alley.  NONE of these terms fit my experience today, including:

  • turn a blind eye, blind as a bat, rob someone blind
  • blind leading the blind, love is blind
  • blind luck, blind date, blind spot, fly blind
  • not 3 blind mice

THIS is what had me blinded today — cleaning window blinds  at The Frog & PenguINN —  18 sets. Thankfully, there are several other windows which don’t have blinds (and never will), but, these do . . .blinded

Lots of people call these Venetian (or venetian) blinds, yet despite the name, they were not invented in Venice, Italy. Window blinds with slats existed in ancient Egypt and Pompeii long before the city of Venice was founded in AD 452. Those slats were fixed, but in 1757, a French craftsman advertised blinds with adjustable slats, perhaps not his invention but a new “twist.”

By the end of the 1700s, window blinds were common in England’s wealthier houses,why venetian shops, churches, and public buildings. In 1767, a Philadelphia craftsman advertised, “newest invented Venetian sun blinds for windows . . . stained to any color, move to any position.” They were so named as a marketing ploy since, at the time, Italian furnishings were considered very sophisticated in England.

Only the English called them Venetian blinds. In Italy, they were persiana; in France, jalousie a la persienne, lending credence to their origination in the East, perhaps in the Persian Empire or beyond, in China or India.

In 1769, British designer, Edward Beran enclosed adjustable wooden slats into a frame in order to regulate the amount of light coming into a room. In 1841, the first U.S. patent for a Venetian blind was issued to John Hampson of New Orleans, LA.

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Venetian blinds were widely adopted in office buildings to regulate light and air. New York’s Rockefeller Center RCA Building (Radio City) completed in the 1930s also used them. One of the largest orders ever was to the Vermont Burlington Venetian Blind Co., which supplied blinds for the windows of the Empire State Building in NYC.

NOT sure how folks in those buildings, or other homes, clean them, but here it’s a much disliked fall ritual. Good news is that these window treatments will be included with the eventual house sale.

Paraphrasing actress Faye Dunaway (as Joan Crawford in the 1981 bio-pic, Mommie Dearest . . .  NO MORE wire hangers venetian blinds ever.


William Kendall said...

I've had them in places I've lived in. I've never had an issue with them, though they can be a bear to clean.

Wsprsweetly Of Cottages said...

I was a property manager a long time ago and the apartments had mini blinds ?(venetian) in them and the problems we had with them was not JUST the cleaning..but that bent easily..
They were in our home when I was growing up and they were always needing cleaning. I remember closing them and wiping them down that way. There was no really easy way to clean them and the cords did get dirty. I am glad to rid of them.
We have those ugly verticals in our home now and I want to be rid of them too. Not exactly certain what I want to replace them with though. I used to think the wide wooden ones. Not so sure anymore. Perhaps shutters, but I KNOW those will be really expensive. I enjoyed your post! :)
Have a nice weekend.

Emma Springfield said...

My aren't you the ambitious one. This was a lovely lesson too. I did not know the origin of the blinds but I like them in my house.

Cheryl @ TFD said...

I have the mini blinds on some of my bedroom windows. They are a bugger to clean, aren't they? I still use the old-fashioned shades to pull down in some rooms. I know they are going out of style, but I only pull them down from behind the valances when it's dark late at night or if I need to keep the sun out when it's hot.

Montanagirl said...

When we lived in Alaska, we had a "big" two story house, which my husband had built. When I married him and arrived on the scene, I thought those "mini" blinds on every window in it would be nice - NOT!! They were a royal pain to clean and keep clean. NEVER again. In our house where we live now, I have only the Vertical blinds - and I LOVE them.

Vee said...

They sure are a pain to clean. I used to have them, but slowly I've released them until I have blind free. The most ingenious window covering I've ever seen was in a New England home where inside shutters covered the windows at night and then folded and slid into the window casement like a pocket door. My husband is telling me that they're called Indian shutters, but what do I know?! I just like them.

Sandra said...

I am with you 100 percent.. no more blinds. we have 4 big windows with these and the sliding door and front double windows have vertical blinds. they work well but are a horror to clean..we have the verticals because at the back door anything that doesn hang and swing and move out of the way, gets torn down by dogs. same for the front window. anyone comes on the property loud barking and noses on the glass, must have swinging out of the way blinds. NO MORE ever.. if we ever move, which means never will i live without them.

Anvilcloud said...

Well, waddayano? I still have an ode to Venice in my den.

Daisy said...

Oh my, I bet it was quite a chore to clean all of those. I have just a few here in our house now, but our old house had them in nearly every window.

DeniseinVA said...

And now we know! That was a really interesting post.

Cicero Sings said...

Yes, and now we know. Interesting. I rather not have venetians. Where I live now, I hardly need curtains of any kind and only have half curtains in the bedrooms. We had venetians in Vancouver ... we lived on a busy street ... oh the black soot that would coat them. No thank you.

thecottagebythecranelaketwo said...

I wish I had them in some windows here but I know how fun it is to clean them so that will never happen :-)

We've borrowed their name from French and call them persienner.

Have a great day!

Tammy@Simple Southern Happiness said...

just popping in to see what you are up too....ugh... I need to clean these blinds here... they are so dusty but now that the cold air is here, I do not want to take them outside and I dare not take them in the shower. I have an excuse to wait till spring.

I hope all is well with you. Things are still rough here with trying to close her estate. Taking a break from the mess to get my mind off of things. Talk sooN.

Leonora said...

My mother still has the original blinds on her picture window from the 1960's. They are monstrous and they are pristine! She's had them re-taped (?) and painstakingly cleans them herself. Every morning they are opened and every evening they are closed...for 50+ years.
Thanks for reminding me of them with your post : )

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