A window blind is a type of window covering. There are many different kinds of window blinds which use a variety of control systems. A typical window blind is made up of several long horizontal or vertical slats of various types of fabric, wood, plastic or metal which are held together by cords that run through the blind slats. Window blinds can be adjusted by rotating them from an open position to a closed position with either a manual or remote control which allows the slats to overlap and block out most of the light. There are also several types of window blinds that use a single piece of material instead of slats.
A window blind is also known as a window shade.
The term window blinds is also sometimes used to describe window coverings generically—in this context window blinds include almost every type of window covering, i.e. shutters, roller blinds, honeycomb shades, wood blinds, roman blinds and of course, standard vertical and horizontal blinds. In the United Kingdom awnings are sometimes called blinds or shades.
Overview of Different Blind Types
The two overall types of window blinds are ready-made blinds and made to measure. Made-to-measure blinds are made to fit a given or measured window size. Ready made blinds are manufactured in set sizes that can be cut down to fit any window.
Many window blinds are made with slats of fabric, wood, plastic, or metal that adjust by rotating from an open position to a closed position by allowing slats to overlap. A roller blind does not have slats but consists of a single piece of material. Metal window blinds are often used outside of the home or business to protect against theft, temperature, vision, bad weather, and fire (in fire-prone areas). Often these blinds are machine-operated, rather than hand-operated.
The horizontal version uses a thin woven corded "ladder" system to suspend the slats and enable slats to be closed via a rotating drum to which each upper end of the woven ladder is wrapped and attached. A lift cord allows the blind to be pulled up and stack tightly to top of window when desired. One of the earliest patents for a window shade was in 1888 by G. L. Castner.
The vertical version uses a generally wider slat and has the added feature of being able to pull a cord to stack the slats together either to one side or to separate in the centre and stack on each end. This vertical blind allows rotation of slats by a rotating shaft in the upper head rail housing which runs through independent geared carriers that will convert twisting of tilt rail to a rotation of each individual slat in synchrony. The original vertical blinds were invented in Kansas City, Missouri by Edward Bopp and Fredrick Bopp who held the original patent. The company name at the time was Sun Vertical. In the 1960s the patent and company was sold.
The term window blinds is also sometimes used, somewhat inaccurately, to describe window coverings generically—in this context window blinds include almost every type of window covering including both curtains and blinds for homes, offices and commercial premises such as shops, pubs and bars, e.g. Plantation Shutters/Jigsaw Shutters, roller blinds, Roman blinds and of course, vertical and horizontal blinds.
In Britain awnings and window shutters are often categorised under blinds. A blind limits observation and thus “blinds” the observer to the view. The main types are slat blinds which can be opened in two ways and solid blinds.
Solid blinds can only be raised or lowered and are sometimes called shades. There are types of blinds, such as Holland blinds and woven-wood blinds, where there are small spaces between the slats. In others such as pleated shades there are no spaces because the slats are sewn inside fabric.
Window blinds reduce the heat from sunlight. Ancient Egyptian pharaohs had blinds made of reeds. The most inexpensive blinds in the 19th century were home-made roller blinds, made of cloth.
Window blinds can be manually drawn using a cord, or automated through motorization. Controls for motorized blinds can be from a wall switch or keypad, remote control, or a personal computer, eliminating the need for cords and allowing control of otherwise inaccessible windows. A number of homes are integrating blind control with central C-Bus solutions. This control provides ease-of-use, but is also effective to control blind operation to reduce heat loss during winter or heat effects during summer.
Persian, or slat
The most common window blinds are slat blinds, which consist of many horizontal slats, usually of metal or vinyl, connected with string in a way that they can be rotated to allow light to pass between the slats, rotated up to about 170 degrees to hide the light, or pulled up so that the entire window is clear. Vertical blinds consist of slats of stiffened fabric, plastic, or metal hanging by one end from a track; like the horizontal versions, the slats can be rotated 90 degrees to allow light to pass through or to fold up on one side of a door or window. Vertical blinds are very good at controlling how much natural or exterior light comes into a room, due to the ability of the slats to close tightly.
A Venetian blind (or venetian blind) has horizontal slats, one above another. Venetian blinds are basic slatted blinds made of metal or plastic; wooden slats are sometimes used but in the US these are now usually referred to as wood blinds or bamboo blinds. They are suspended by strips of cloth called tapes, or by cords, by which all slats in unison can be rotated through nearly 180 degrees. The slats can be rotated such that they overlap with one side facing inward and then in the opposite direction such that they overlap with the other side facing inward. Between those extremes, various degrees of separation may be effected between the slats by varying the rotation. There are also lift cords passing through slots in each slat. When these cords are pulled, the bottom of the blind moves upward causing the lowest slats to press the underside of the next highest slat as the blind is raised. A modern variation of the lift cords combines them with the rotational cords in slots on the two edges of each slat. This avoids the slots otherwise required to allow a slat to rotate despite a lift cord passing through it, thus decreasing the amount of light passing through a closed blind. Slat width can be between 16–120 mm, with 25 mm being a common width.
Related patents were taken out in England by Gowin Knight in 1760 and Edward Beran on 11 December 1769, but Venetian blinds were known to the French long before then. In 1761 St. Peter's Church, Philadelphia had such blinds.
In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Venetian blinds were widely adopted in office buildings to regulate light and air. A large modern complex in the US that adopted Venetian blinds was Rockefeller Center’s RCA Building (better known as the Radio City building) in New York City, completed in the 1930s. One of the largest orders for Venetian blinds ever placed was to the Burlington Venetian Blind Co., of Burlington, Vt., which supplied blinds for the windows of the Empire State Building in New York City.
Unlike horizontal blinds, vertical blinds are less likely to collect dust due to the fact that they stand vertically. Since they draw to the side versus lifting and lowering they operate better on doors and windows that also slide from side to side. Generally they require less muscle strength, and are faster to operate.
Vertical blinds are available in flat plastic (PVC), fabric, embossed pvc, faux wood materials, metal, wood and also s-curved slats.
Stationary vertical blinds are hung in the doorways of some homes and businesses which generally leave the door open. Movement of the blind may signal a change in air flow, or someone entering the doorway. More commonly however, these vertical blinds are made of thick plastic. In the cold rooms of food businesses, this slows the heat leakage into the cold room. In warmer climates, vertical blinds discourage flies and some other insects from entering the building.
Roman shades are a type of window blind used to block out the sun. Often referred to as Romans or Roman blinds in the UK. When opened the Romans stack up evenly, however when covering the full window height, they are smooth without overlapping.
Roman blinds can be purchased with a Blackout (fabric) lining on the back to fully block out sunlight.
Unlike other blinds such as Roller, Vertical, and Venetian blinds, Romans offer no option to protect against high temperatures or moisture, making them unsuitable for bathrooms.
Other variety of window blinds include mini blinds (Venetian blinds with very narrow slats, usually 1 in (25 mm) wide), micro blinds (usually 1⁄2 in (12 mm) wide), louvers, jalousies, brise soleil, Holland blinds, Pleated blinds, roller shades.
A window blind is a means of screening a window, achieving similar results to those obtained by fitting curtains. Blinds are typically the same width and height as the window itself or slightly wider and taller—depending on whether they are fixed inside (Recess) or outside (Facefix) the window's reveal (i.e. the wall recess within which the window itself is fixed).
Window blinds have varying thermal effects: they can block unwanted heat of the summer sun and they can keep in heat in cold weather. But in both of these applications, they also reduce light to varying degrees, depending on the design. Many kinds of blinds attempt varying balances of privacy and shade. Blinds can be made of a number of different materials and manufactured in a number of different ways. This usually determines the name by which the blind is commonly known.
Blinds made of fabric can either be rolled up thanks to a thin cord and small horizontal slats (Roman blind), folding blinds with no horizontal slats create a less structured look (Austrian blinds). Many fabrics are used including cotton, polyester, wool, viscose and silk to create the blinds. A silk cloth can be present or embroidery stitch, which will give tissue varied terrain. If you combine silk and cotton, it is possible to achieve a two-layered fabric, similar to the skin of the animal.
These are a usually stiffened polyester, mounted on a metal pole and operated with a side chain or spring mechanism. Lower cost and ready made blinds often come with a PVC pole.
Wooden blinds are generally known as Venetian blinds. A number of horizontal wooden slats are joined together by corded pulleys which can either gather all the slats at the top of the window to reveal the view or simply angle the slats while allowing some light to travel through the blind yet retaining some level of privacy. Wooden blinds come in a number of finishes (determined by the type of wood used, which ranges from painted to most types of solid oak varieties) and sizes (determined by the width of each slat which is usually available in one of three widths—25 mm, 35 mm or 50 mm). Wooden Venetian blinds are also available as vertical blinds. These are usually made up of wider slats and operate in virtually the same way as their horizontal counterparts (i.e. instead of being drawn upwards to reveal the window, the draw to one side gathering in a vertical bunch).
Pinoleum blinds are made up of small wooden twigs laid horizontally which are joined together by vertical threading. The resulting weave is, as a result, only flexible vertically and can be drawn upwards once manufactured as a roller blind or in a similar fashion to a Venetian blind. Conservatory blinds are often made with Pinoleum. Drawings in ancient Egyptian tombs of reed blinds have been reported[who?] and a common window blind during the 19th century is said to have been the home-made roller shade, a shade that has been underestimated.
In Malaysia, an outdoor blind is sometimes called a "chik". The word was carried over from India by the British during the colonial times.
Faux wood blinds are an alternative to real wood blinds. Faux wood is also known in our countries as Plaswood (Plastic & Wood). Made of a composite of man-made materials and natural wood particles, faux wood is also a less expensive choice than natural wood. These blinds have become more popular as the products have matured, becoming cheaper and more versatile at the same time offering more of a natural wood look. Current faux wood blinds are more warp resistant than ever before, have UV ratings as high as 500 and come in many colors that would be hard to find in natural wood blinds. Because of their resistance to warping, faux wood window blinds are a great choice for areas where extreme temperature swings. They are also the ideal choice for places with high moisture, such as bathrooms and kitchens, since they do not warp as easily as natural wood.
Venetian blinds, both horizontal and vertical, are available in a number of man-made materials (either resembling wood or metal or simply plastic). These are better suited to areas where moisture or direct contact with water is likely to cause a problem, such as bathrooms and kitchens. These blinds are often available with micro slats (as small as 16 mm or less). The result of smaller slats is that more have to be used to obscure the window completely. Conservatory blinds (i.e. ceiling fixed via a number of horizontal pulleys) are often made of man-made materials.
Corded window blinds have strangled over 500 children in the last few decades. Corded horizontal blinds account for 57.5% of all strangulations. Vertical, Draperies, and Roman Shades account for 37.2% of accidental strangulations among children. Recalls of window covering products have not significantly reduced the number of deaths since 1980. Retrofit kits have been used since 1995 to "reduce" the strangulation hazard, however children have strangled on retrofit kits since 1995. The US CPSC recommends using cordless or cord free window coverings where children live or visit. For window coverings that use continuous-loop cord systems, like vertical blinds, a wall cord cleat can be used to anchor the cord tightly to the wall and prevent children from having access to the dangling cord loop. Window blinds slats are held together with cords that allow for tilting slats, raising or lowering, and these are potentially dangerous if loose. As an added precaution, cord stops should be installed correctly and adjusted to restrict the movement of inner lift cords.
Car shades are another common way to protect the vehicle. The shades for the rear and front windows are designed to be unfolded and sit against the window. They can be made of plastic or cardboard. The shades that go on the side windows of a vehicle are usually attached using suction cups or using static cling.
Solid fabric and slat car blinds have given way to cheaper and more flexible, folding wire-framed "dark-stocking" synthetic blinds. These are used where the car owner has not dark-tinted the glass of the car windows enough. or during the day, wishing to have more privacy.
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