Definitions

roman-shade

Window blind

For other uses see Blinds (disambiguation)
For the desktop theming software, see WindowBlinds.

A window blind is a window covering composed of long strips of fabric or rigid material. Examples include shutters, Venetian blinds, roller shades and curtain-like track blinds. In Britain awnings are also considered 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.

Slat blinds have long strips called slats. These can be rotated to open the blind while it is still covering the window. In track blinds the slats hang vertically from one end. In Venetian blinds and mini blinds the slats are suspended horizontally on cords. A slat blind can also be opened so it is no longer covering the window.

Solid blinds can only be raised or lowered and are often called shades. In some such as Holland blinds and woven-wood blinds 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 1800’s were home-made roller shades, made of cloth.

Window blinds can be manually drawn or automated through motorization, controlled from a wall switch or keypad, remote control, or a personal computer, thus eliminating the hazard of dangling cords.

Varieties

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.

Venetian

A Venetian blind has horizontal slats, one slat above another. They are suspended by strips of cloth called tapes or by cords which are able to tip them each at the same time up to 180 degrees. Their setting can be changed from overlapping with one side facing inward through not overlapping at all to overlapping with the other side facing inward. There are also lift cords passing through holes in each slat. When these cords are pulled, the bottom of the blind moves upward causing slats to rest on each other as the blind is raised. Venetian blinds are basic slatted blinds made of metal or plastic; wooden slats are sometimes used but these are usually referred to as wood blinds or bamboo blinds. Venetian blinds were patented by Edward Beran in London on 11th December 1769, but in reality Venetian blinds were invented by the Japanese long before then. Slat width can be between 16-120 mm - a common width is 50 mm.

Others

Other variety of window blinds include mini blinds (venetian blinds with very narrow slats 1"(usually 25 mm wide), micro blinds 1/2"(usually 12 mm wide), louvers, jalousies, brise soleil, Holland blinds, pleated blinds, honeycomb blinds (similar to pleated shades except that there are two or more layers joined at the pleats to form compartments that trap air, providing insulation), Roman shades, and roller shades.

Materials

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 or outside 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.

Fabric

Blinds made of fabric can either roll up around a metal batten (roller blinds), fold 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).

Wood

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 - 25mm, 35mm or 50mm). 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 and a common window blind during the 1800’s is said to have been the home-made roller shade.

Other materials

Venetial 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 suite 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 16mm 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.

Automobile blinds

Some vehicles include or are retrofitted with sun blinds for rear and rear side windows. See also car glass. These blinds are used to protect the vehicle and the passengers from direct sunlight. The rays of the sun can damage the interior of most vehicles over time. Blinds on the side windows can be important for protecting adults and especially infants. Car window blinds are usually mounted with brackets and are easy to install or remove.

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.

Gallery

See also

References

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