Did Roman Blinds Really Originate from Rome?

Roman Blinds and Curtains
Roman blinds are a beautiful, appealing alternative to curtains. They are an elegant way to dress up your windows and control the amount of light that enters your home.

You can get all kinds of Roman blinds, with ready-made and bespoke options available online and in stores.  Roman blinds seem to fill the gap between curtains and modern blinds, because they are made of fabric interspersed with horizontal folds or battens.

But do Roman blinds really originate from Rome?

We all know that there are many misnomers out there. For example, French fries do not originate from France, fortune cookies do not come from China, and Bavarian cream does not come from Germany. However, it turns out that Roman blinds really do originate from Rome.

Ancient Romans and Window Coverings

Cloth window coverings have existed for almost as long as buildings have existed. Animal hides, heavy fabrics and other materials were used to cover windows to protect from the wind and the sun.

The actual invention of blinds, however, probably originated from the Ancient Romans. The Romans are famous for their technologically advanced civilisation. During this time, the Romans already had elaborate palaces, battlefield surgery and aqueducts. They even had flushing toilets during a time when the majority of people still did their business outdoors.

Some accounts mention that a predecessor of the Roman blind became popular at around 70AD, when the construction of the Colosseum began. The dust from the construction blanketed the whole city, and people began covering their windows with a cloth to prevent it from entering their homes.

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Velarium at the Amphitheatres

Roman amphitheatres, such as the Colosseum, also featured a type of retractable awning, known as velarium. Made of fabric and controlled by an elaborate rope system, they provided shade and protection for spectators inside the amphitheatres. Soon, retractable blinds became a widespread addition to Roman homes.

A scaled down, vertical version of the velarium can be observed among modern Roman blinds. Today, we still use a variation of the blind inside our homes. This decorative blind truly adds a special touch to your home’s interiors.