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The History of the Modern-Day Window Shutter

Windows are an important aspect of a home’s construction. Windows offer an openness and brightness to a space, serving to enhance the interior and exterior design of a home. However, most people probably would never consider the historical underpinnings of the modern-day window, or California Shutters in Toronto.


Despite maybe not seeming to be the most interesting of topics, the origins of the modern-day window shutter are actually more interesting than one may think. Rather, the development of today’s window shutter is largely a reflection of the changes in hundreds of years of human development and construction. From Ancient Greece, to the Tudor Era, to the plantations of the American South, the history of the window shutter is rich and is indicative of the grander shifts of people, places, and climates of the past.


Marble Shutters of Ancient Greece


The earliest version of the modern window shutter originates from Ancient Greece. These shutters were made of marble or stone and had fixed louvres. Like the modern California Shutters in Toronto, the main purpose of ancient Greek shutters was to regulate light and air.


The Tudor Era Shutter


In the late 1500s to early 1600s known as England’s Tudor Era, it was common for homes to have wooden window shutters. These shutters were designed to cover only half of a window opening. Glass at this time was considered to be a luxury that most could not afford. The result was that only the upper half of a window opening had a glass pane.


The 1700s and the Double-Pane Window


It was during the 1700s that builders would eventually begin to install two glass panes into window openings. This was in contrast to the Tudor era where only one glass pane was installed on the top halves of windows. These glass panes were also installed side-by-side, or ‘double hung’ similar to the Federation style windows seen today. Buildings were constructed from tougher materials like stone or masonry, resulting in much thicker walls. The walls were often too thick to secure window shutters on the outside, so it became common to install interior shutters to regulate light.


The Re-Emergence of the Exterior Shutter


It wasn’t until the 1800s during the reign of Queen Victoria, in which England saw the re-emergence of shutters being installed on the exterior of buildings. This was largely due to a change in building materials, where structures were made from more light-weight materials such as lumber in contrast to the thicker stone materials used in the 1700s.


The Plantation Shutter


It was also during the 18th century that the plantation shutter was brought to the American South by the Spanish. The window shutters took on the name of ‘plantation shutters’ as they were typically used to regulate sunlight and air in the grand mansions found on plantations in the sub-tropical climates of the American South. The term ‘plantation shutter’ is still commonly used today to describe modern window shutters that serve to emulate the design of the window shutter from the past.


Maximizing the Utility of Window Shutters


As time went on, window shutters began to offer more than just practical utility such as controlling light retention and maintaining air flow. With the onset of globalization and the industrial revolution, the manufacturing of window shutters also allowed for more of an aesthetic utility in addition to its more practical uses. Much like our modern California Shutters in Toronto, a more sophisticated shutter design included horizontal slats which allowed for the shutters to divert rain and allow for more control on how much sunlight should be let into the home.


The Modern Window Shutter


Today the window shutter can be customized to suit your preferences while also offering multiple utility. California Shutters in Toronto specialize in the manufacturing of custom window shutters to meet the needs of our customer’s personal taste and style. Regardless of what era or style you prefer your shutters to resemble or pay homage to, the team at California Shutters in Toronto is highly experienced in ensuring the design of your window shutters are to your unique specifications. Give us a call today!

Interesting! Never really thought about the history of the window shutter - interesting read!
Posted by: Samantha | January 28, 2019, 10:54 am
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