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
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, 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.