A Brief History of Wood Shutters

Guides & Tips

It’s not really essential for someone to know the history of the products they purchase, but when it comes to wood shutters, it’s interesting. The more you know about some of the items in your home, the better it’s going to be for you when it comes time for guests to show up, be amazed at how incredible your house looks, and remark on how wonderful those shutters look.

Then you can really impress them with a bit of a history lesson.

Shutters actually began way back in ancient Greece. During those years (thousands of years ago), they were constructed of marble and were basically used for controlling the amount of light that entered a home. It also provided some important protection against storms in that semi-tropical environment right along the Mediterranean Sea.

Those early shutters had fixed louvers, which meant they couldn’t be opened and closed like slats today. Through the years, the concept of shutters began to expand and wood started replacing marble, not just for expense but for practicality. Soon those louvres were able to be opened and closed.

Shutters had two primary functions during their early years: ventilating the house or building and controlling light. When the louvres were angled downward, they could also shed rainwater and prevent it from getting into the home while also allowing fresh air in.

During Medieval Europe, windows were getting larger and shutters were used for protection, since they didn’t utilize glass yet. In Tudor times, glass became more widely used for windows and shutters helped protect that glass from the elements. Once hinged glazed sashes began to be used more frequently to replace outdoor shutters, interior shutters started to increase in popularity, but more from a design standpoint, rather than something functional.

Through the Southern part of the United States in the 18th and 19th centuries, plantation shutters became important at protecting the home from some of the severe storms that were common in that region. Californians during the Gold Rush began incorporating the same style to protect against the endless gaze of the sun and they became known as California shutters, though they are essentially the same as plantation shutters.

Today, shutters are mostly about design rather than function, though they can protect against sunlight, heat, and can even offer energy efficiency. Shutters have been around a long time and because of that, today’s shutters are a great addition to any home.

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