In America, far and wide, the most popular window coverings today are plantation shutters. They can easily be found in every state of the country. The many different types of plantation shutters offer people a variety of elegant styles, while insulating their home and providing a great way to control light. However, the history of plantation shutters goes back far beyond the history of America, over 2500 years, in fact.
The name “plantation” shutters often brings to mind the image of the colonial southern United States, and that is indeed where the name comes from. Despite the name, though, plantation shutters were actually invented by the Ancient Greeks in 800 B.C. Back then, most types of window coverings consisted of cloth and wood. In cases where the government required utmost security, metal window covers would be employed, but only in rare cases. The original plantation shutters were made of marble or similar stones, this offered the people an incredibly strong cover for their window, but primarily was designed to control light and airflow, as well as offer privacy at the same time.
In Greece, the popularity of these new shutters skyrocketed. With the increase in demand, plantation shutters couldn’t all be made of marble, which was difficult to obtain, and so they began to make them out of wood. This also allowed for the design of the shutter to be more customizable to whichever customer needed it, making them more efficient on a case by case basis. This also led to many different designs of plantation shutters, with wood being a very flexible material.
Even when the empire of Ancient Greece began to recede, the design of plantation shutters remained popular and grew across Europe. Over the centuries, they became particularly popular in France. One urban legend about their origins actually claims that French king Louis XIV had the shutters invented so that he could watch the women of his court bathe, but the guards roaming the grounds would not become distracted. This however, is obviously a tall tale, as plantation shutters predate this period by a good milllenium or two.
Eventually plantation shutters were brought over to America by the Spanish, and became very popular here. Obviously, the region that used plantation shutters the most would be the American south. The design of plantation shutters fit in with the opulence of southern plantations, which is how they eventually got their name.
Today, plantation shutters are very common, but still immensely desired. And they had a long road to travel to get there.
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