Windows have been around for many years. Homes going back as far as 4000 years ago had spaces in the walls where occupants could see to the outside, as well as to get fresh air. If you doubt this, imagine the alternative, which is a stone structure with no ventilation.
Occupants would also be vulnerable to attack, and perhaps even the theft of their belongings on the outside. However, at that time, people tended to wake with the sun. The agrarian economy left most to be farmers, which meant the need to be working before the heat of the day. As the economies of the world shifted, people began to seek out privacy and wanted to be able to sleep later. This modesty and need to wake up a little later led to the need to cover windows.
When earlier homeowners began to have actual windows, the first types of window coverings were fabric cloths nailed up on the tops and retracted to the sides. Later technological developments allowed the easier retraction of the fabric to the top of the windows, and thus led to the invention of the roller shade. Early roller shades simply lifted the fabrics up and did not use any mechanism to lift or lower the shades. Roller shades, thus, began their long history soon after the beginning of window treatments as a general product.
Shades were usually made of a basic woven fabric. Roller shade specialty fabrics were not yet invented, so consumers had to use what was available. These roller shades were really only able to block some of the light, but were, in fact, perfectly fine for the privacy goals of those who hung them. These roller shades were usually made by the same people who lived in these homes.
This was convenient, as there was no requirement for performance of quality for these roller shades. Later, when a manufacturing economy was developed, roller shades evolved to become a manufactured product. This time, in the 1800's, for the largest part, roller shades became a great and innovative product. A single ply fabric was what most shades had, but the more sophisticated production of fabrics allowed for new designs.
Also, the development of specialized spring systems allowed for new and interesting possibilities for the roller shades and their manufacturing. These systems permitted roller shades to roll up on their own when pulled, and to stay up until their descent was desired. Certainly we all know that over time the spring load roller shades deteriorate, and that was among the major precipitators of the development of the chain lifted roller shades. These chain control systems allow for a longer life to the mechanism, as well as the fabric. This preservation of roller shade fabric is caused by the decreased need to touch or pull the fabric to cause the action of the shade. Pull the chain, and the roller shade moves to where you want it.
Further enhancements have made the fabrics more capable such that roller shades may now be used for distinct purposes. One may choose to have privacy, but not limit much light with the roller shades. Others may wish to have 100% darkness, or high levels of decor. All of this is now possible as a result of the enhancements in roller shade materials. Selecting the proper roller shade has become a simple act of consumerism. First, identify a need, then find the correct product to satisfy the need.
Durable roller shades will last for several years of great enjoyment. Consumers do have many ways to acquire them, including the traditional visit to the hardware store. However, now, high quality roller shades are available from decorators as well as from internet retailers. In fact, due to the vast assortment of roller shades fabrics on the market, it is likely that a consumer will find what she needs by looking on the internet. From the inception of the need for window treatments, people have selected roller shades as a style of covering that meets their needs.
In most homes, an investigation will find at least a single roller shade. This common prevalence is now leading to a resurgence of beautiful roller shades, and they are growing to be more than a single shade in the house, and many consumers are going for a houseful of roller shades.
Judith Persit writes about roller shades. Learn more about shades at her site.