The History of the Roman Shade
In researching information for this blog post, I found every detail about the functionality of a roman shade over time fascinating. I hope you do too!
The shade first began in Rome during times of heavy construction of historic structures such as the Coliseum. As these structures we constructed of stone there was a lot of dust in the city. Residents in the city that were subject to this dusty environment would hang a wet towel in the opening of their windows to catch the dust in an effort to prevent it coming into the homes. It didn't take long for them to realize that hanging this cloth in the window also helped keep the sun's ray's out of the home thereby keeping it cooler. This discovery quickly became a trend and city residents began covering their in fashionable fabrics, scarves or other vibrant materials that were pleasant to look at.
During this time people also often traveled by coach. It was discovered that a simple cloth window covering that could be raised and lowered easily was convenient for keeping out the dust and heat.
When the Coliseum had been constructed and other theaters were fully functioning on a daily basis, it became uncomfortably hot to be in the upper stands of a theater or the Coliseum. With the idea and function of the vertical roman shade already in place throughout the city, they constructed a sort of horizontal roman shade that was suspended out on poles over the crowds, like an awning, with pleats that could still be raised and lowered where the shade, or awning, hung vertically at the end of the awning as far as the poles had stretched.
As these shades proved more and more useful people began to use more decorative fabrics, trims and more to enhance the beauty in their homes. Over time they went from being purely functional as a means to keep out heat and dirt to becoming the decorative focal point of a room.