The earliest blackout systems date back to the earliest desert peoples, who used wet rags in their dwellings to protect themselves from heat and excessive light.
Later the Egyptians used structures similar to those familiar to us, namely “blackout curtains” made of dozens and dozens of reeds tied together.
Something very similar was used in ancient China, where reeds were replaced by bamboo.
Even the Romans, needing protection from the hot Mediterranean sun, covered their windows with strips of cloth, which over time became more ornate curtains.
Today they are known as “Roman Blinds” because the Romans also invented the system of rolling the fabric onto itself.
So-called “Venetian Blinds” were born much later, in the late 1700s or so, but their origin is rooted in Japanese, Chinese and Persian cultures. They take this name because it seems it was Venetian merchants who imported them from Persia to Venice.
In the 18th century, English, French, and Dutch homes were becoming increasingly well-cared thanks to the higher standard of living offered by the Industrial Revolution, and in these years English physicist Edward Bevan patented a device of movable wooden blades, driven by a rope and pulley inserted in a frame, to raise and lower the Venetian blind.
In 1841 John Hampson modified the invention, allowing the angle of the blades to be adjusted, creating the Venetian blinds we still use today.
Exterior shutters, from very ancient times, appear as shutters, from the Lombard skur, meaning shelter), a type of window frame consisting of a single piece of wood or several pieces joined together so that light cannot filter through the slits.
In some parts of Italy, as early as the 18th century, shutters or “shutters with jealousy” became widespread because they prevented the view from the outside of women locked in the house, of whom men were – indeed – very jealous!
With this system, the sashes, which can be opened outward, have flaps with spaced wooden slats that allow the passage of light and air flow to be conveniently regulated even when the sash is closed.
Blind shutters spread throughout northern Italy, going on to assume a particular style related to the mode of closure depending on the region.
In the Veneto region, the “Paduan-style” shutter has jointed sashes on the shoulder of the wall, “Vicenza-style” folds into two modules, and “folding” folds into one, two or three modules. “Veronese-style” shutter is installed in the window hole and consists of 3 planks (or slats) for each panel (or sash) that makes up the shutter. The “Mantuan-style” shutter features horizontal shingles.
In Tuscany, Liguria, and throughout central and southern Italy, however, shutters became more widespread, probably because they were more versatile in managing the entry of sun and heat into rooms.
The shutter will become the most common type of shading in Italy. Every area of Italy has shutters with different openings, infills and colors even from city to city: with horizontal or vertical slats, with adjustable slats, spaced or blind, with ashlar panel or with Genoese-style door.
Agostini Group, in 2000 introduced Fibex to the shutter market, creating a product that offers mechanical, physical and insulation performance superior to wood, aluminum and pvc.
The unique performance characteristics and physical-mechanical properties of the Fibex composite make this material and its applications for shutters the ideal solution for the homes of the future.
HISTORY OF THE SHUTTERS. ROLLER SHUTTERS.
External roller shutters are part of the family of blackout systems. More precisely, they are “an exterior shading system with horizontally jointed slats that slide between two side guides.”
To open and close, the roller shutter wraps precisely around a roller that is located inside a box positioned at the top of the window.
In Italy, the roller shutter found its first applications in 1870.
The first roller shutters were made of wood, the louvers were very wide, with the function of letting light filter through, and there was extensive use of projecting guides to better manage solar inputs.
An example is the shutters of the Palazzo delle Debite in Padua, designed by architect Camillo Boito. Boito himself later applied shutters in Milan in the 1899 Casa di Riposo per Musicisti, a building commissioned by Giuseppe Verdi.
A solution that frees the building from the need to respect the rigid rhythms between voids and solids required in the case of matching shutters.
In the 1900s, windows with shutters allow for striking facades. Iconic and significant is Gaudi’s 1906 Casa Milà, whose facade conformation revolutionized the compositional aspects of buildings.
1936 Casa del Fascio in Lissone is characterized by painted Douglas fir shutters.
In the 1960s, aluminum roller shutters became popular in Europe.
In 1963, Luciano Agostini founded ETP, Estrusione Tapparelle in Plastica, bringing the first PVC roller shutters, which are lighter and cheaper, to Italy as well.
These will be increasingly used thanks to the building development and intense urbanization of the Italian territory in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
The 1990s saw the entry of insulated aluminum, which is a polyurethane foam filling inserted inside the slats to guarantee thermal and acoustic insulation.
The product is thus lighter than wood, very durable, and above all more resistant to saltiness and impacts from hail.
At the same time, extruded aluminum slats are being developed, which have better anti-intrusion characteristics than simple insulated aluminum.
The strongest material used for burglar-resistant roller shutters and for situations with high storm risk is, at present, armored steel.
Today we are witnessing the transition from the old system of raising the roller shutter by means of a rope to the more modern motorized systems, in which the roller shutter fabric is raised by an electric motor inserted in the roller strapping.
It is controlled by a button placed on the wall, a remote control or, in home automation installations, by an app installed in the smartphone.
Some types of roller shutters also include the possibility of partially orienting the slats in order to adjust sunlight access according to one’s needs.