Outside My Front Door

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Paula McInerney from Contented Traveller, whom I’ve already featured in my weekly blogger round-up, is publishing a series of posts entitled “Outside my front door”.  I was delighted when she asked me to contribute and I’ve been enjoying hearing from other bloggers as well.

Outside My Front Door

blois_with_traditional_boatOutside my front door is a large expanse of trees and grass and on the other side is the Loire River, flanked by two levees, first mentioned in 1584, which is the exact same year in which my Renaissance house was built.

If I go left five kilometers along the river, I will come to the city of Blois, with its royal castle, built on a promontory overlooking the Loire, and former home of Louis XII, François I, the star of the French Renaissance, and his son Henri II. Read more

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5 Responses to Outside My Front Door

  1. A beautiful view of the river!

  2. Jacqueline says:

    Origin of Venetian blinds
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    Posted in Blog – News
    Origin of Venetian Blinds:
    Venetian blinds may have originated in Persia, not the canal city of Venice, Italy. Or, they may date all the way back to ancient Egypt. Wherever their birthplace, the Venetian blinds have served as decorative alternatives to curtains for nearly three centuries. They have undergone some style updates through the years–most notably the creation of the mini blind–but the basic concept of an adjustable array of horizontal slats remains unchanged.
    Origins Slatted blinds have existed for centuries. Ancient Eqyptians made blinds from reeds, while the Chinese used strips of Bamboo. The true story of Venetian Blinds’ invention is unknown, but most experts date the first examples from around 1760.

    Early Venetian blinds were made of 2-inch wood slats suspended along cloth ribbons.
    Legend

    One legend says that early Venetian traders brought the shades home from Persia. Then, in the late 1700s, freed Venetian slaves who settled in France introduced the shades there. In France, Venetian Blinds are known as “les persienes.”

    Effects

    Venetian blinds quickly gained popularity both in homes and public buildings. St. Peter’s Church in Philadelphia covered its windows with Venetian blinds in 1761, and illustrations of Independence Hall also show venetian blinds. The RCA Building (today the GE Building) in New York City became the first large commercial building in the United States to use Venetian blinds after it opened in the early 1930s.

    Popularity

    Venetian blinds reached peak popularity in the United States in the 1930s. In 1936, manufacturers in New York put $210 million worth of the shades on the market. The blinds were made of wood or metal in a wide range of colors and used in homes and businesses.

    Innovations

    John Hampson of New Orleans gets credit for inventing or patenting a device to change the angle of a Venetian blinds’ slats that continues in use today. That device is usually a plastic rod near the top of the blind.

    Types

    Hunter Douglas was the first company to develop a light, aluminum venetian blind in 1946.The mini blind, featuring a one-inch slat, came on the market in the 1960s, followed in the 1990s by the half-inch micro blind. Today, two-inch wood blinds have regained popularity

  3. Jacqueline says:

    This was is better i.e. historical details

    http://historymyths.wordpress.com/tag/origins-of-venetian-blinds/

    MYTH # 57: Venetian blinds were invented in Venice. (Or, Marco Polo brought Venetian blinds to Venice from China.)
    July 16, 2011

    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, however. In 1757, a French craftsman advertised blinds with adjustable slats, probably not his own invention but definitely a new idea.

    By the end of the 1700s they were common in wealthier houses, shops, churches, and public buildings in England and the English colonies. In 1767 a Philadelphia craftsman advertised, “newest invented Venetian sun blinds for windows . . . stained to any colour, moves to any position.” In 1769, Diderot’s French encyclopaedia illustrated them (above). When Virginia Governor Thomas Jefferson moved the capital from Williamsburg to Richmond, the list of packages sent included “Venen Blinds.” Thrifty George Washington had one Venetian blind made to fit a dining room window at Mount Vernon so that “others may be made by it, at home.”

    Only the English called them Venetian blinds. In Italy, they were persiana; in France, jalousie a la persienne. This suggests that they originated in the East, perhaps in the Persian Empire or beyond, in China or India. They probably got the name Venetian Blinds courtesy of having come via Venice, a city that dominated trade with the East.

    And whenever anyone says “the Venice trade with the East,” they inevitably think of Marco Polo, an association that probably gave rise to the legend that Marco Polo brought them back from China. I was one of many docents who used to repeat this tale. But on reflection, it appears highly unlikely. First of all, Marco Polo doesn’t mention blinds in his journals, and frankly, it seems like an inexplicably long delay between his travels in the late 1200s and the European debut of the blinds in the 1750s.

    • Rosemary Kneipp says:

      Thank you, Jacqueline, for that information. So it’s only the English (and now the French) who call them Venitian blinds and there was a shift from the initial meaning. I meant to ask our hosts before we left Venice about the name in Italian, but now we have it – persiana.

  4. butcherbird says:

    Loved your story about the venetian blinds – have to tell you that they are back in fashion in Australia and the lengthy curtains are out. I have been looking at renovating and this seems to be the word. Of course they work better when you have sliding type windows – which I don’t. I myself don’t like to have total block out – even when I sleep – so have in fact decided that the Roman blind is for me

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