History of Shutters

History of Shutters

Shutters are the original window decoration, way before curtains and blinds were invented. It is the common belief that Plantation Shutters go back to around the fifteenth century. Previous to this window spaces where just that; a space - a gap left for ventilation.

It is thought that the first type of shutters started in the fifteenth century in Greece, when the window spaces had rocks placed in the gap. The main purpose of this was to protect from wind, rain and sun. Over time these developed into marble shutters. Some of these could be slid across the window space to let in right the amount of light and air.

Wooden shutters became used once shutters were popular further afield in Europe, especially elsewhere in the Mediterranean such as Spain and Italy.

The term plantation shutters refers to wooden shutters with broad louvres, mounted in a solid frame. The term "plantation" is in relation to shutters in the United States. Shutters were brought to America when the south was colonized by the Spanish. Wooden style shutters were popular on the mansions is the cotton and sugar plantations in these areas, thereby coining the phrase "plantation shutters".

There are several reasons why shutters were thought of as being the best option, especially in the times before glass windows and curtains were used. The first is security, both against the weather and potential intruders. With just a gap in the window space it was not difficult for people to enter somebody else's home. Before shutters there was no protection from the weather elements. Wind and rain could come into houses and the sun could also pose a problem. With shutters these are avoidable when the home owner deems necessary. With shutters it is possible to control ventilation. You can have as much or as little as you want, with shutters being able to be open or closed accordingly. The amount of light let in can also be controlled. On a hot day they can act as protection against the heat, while on a cooler day they can be closed for insulation or opened to let the suns heat in.

Although shutters first came about for the practical reasons mentioned above, they are now often used only for decorative purposes. They have in many instances been replaced. In terms of protection from the elements glass windows are now the norm, although shutters can be used to protect against extreme weather forces such as hurricanes and tornadoes. It terms of light curtains and blinds are often used, although the ways that shutter louvers can be open and closed as the user likes does have its advantages. So they do still have practical use, but decoration is their main selling point.