Since the beginning of time and except for the early caveman period, windows have been an integral part of the living area for humans. Windows date back over 4000 years where home occupants were able to look outside and also allow fresh air to continually enter the occupied spaces. Imagine living in a cave where poor ventilation was the daily norm and its occupants were exposed to potential danger from other humans or animals. During these times people’s lives were controlled by the presence and disappearance of sunlight. However, as economic traits were developed over time, humans desired to have privacy and sleep later than the time of sunrise, thus the creation of window coverings originated.
When actual windows were incorporated into the construction of early homes, windows were normally covered with cloth material held in place by nails at the top and somehow rolled up during the day and allowed down at night or whenever privacy was desired. As home construction evolved and windows became an integral part of the home, businesses dedicated to the fabrication of window coverings were born and production of more sophisticated methods of operation for window coverings were developed. This process led to the invention of roller shades. These early roller shades simply raised and lowered the fabric over the opening without the use of any mechanism.
As the popularity of roller shades increased, spurred on by their practicality and availability through dedicated window treatment fabricators, roller shades became a generally accepted product by society. Plain, basic woven fabrics were initially used in the fabrication of roller shades until specialty fabrics evolved over time. The light control capabilities of these early roller shades was limited yet very welcome by the consumers who wished for privacy and the appearance these shades created.
As time passed and manufacturing processes were developed, many products became mass produced and roller shades became a manufactured item which was readily available to the consumer. In the 1800’s, the roller shade became highly popular and many innovations were incorporated into the product. These innovations included the availability of new fabrics and materials, operational components and additional designs. The development of spring systems adopted by roller shade manufacturers increased the mechanical capabilities of the product by increasing the ability to expand the control of the shade. This expansion meant that the roller shade can roll up on its own and stop at a desired point.
Through daily use and experience, manufacturers realized that spring loaded roller shades deteriorated much quicker than anticipated thus shortening their useful life and creating a demand for a better product. This fact accelerated the development of roller shades which could be operated by the use of pulled cords or metal/plastic chains. These newly developed mechanisms increased the useful life of the roller shade and also improved the ability to control the product in addition to the preservation of the fabric (now that the fabric needed not be touched in the daily operation of the shade.)
The introduction of sophisticated control mechanisms increased the popularity of roller shades throughout the world and new fabric materials also became available as the demand increased. These evolutionary product improvements now allow the consumer to meet specific needs such a full light control by the use of blackout materials, never previously imagined large sizes to cover modern window designs, specific translucency factors and hundreds of colors which create specific decorative ambiences.
Today’s roller shades offer many years of enjoyment and practical use regardless of the specific application. Roller shades are now offered for sale almost everywhere from department stores to the corner hardware store in many instances. Yet, high quality, custom made roller shades, available through designers, decorators, specialty retail window treatment shops or Internet retailers are sure to satisfy the consumer’s need and expectation since the shade is made to exact specifications in material, physical dimensions and design and control capabilities. The longevity and durability of a custom made roller shade far outdistances a ready made lower priced shade.
Since the creation of windows and the need to treat them for whatever reason, be that of privacy, light control or decorative purposes, roller shades have become and, will continue to be, a popular product that will meet the desired need. Most homes in the US have at least one roller shade in use. Now that roller shades are widely available in hundreds of fabrics, sizes and configurations, roller shades are expanding to most rooms in the house and creating a relaxed, safe environment for their users.