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Blinds & Shutters - the first issue

 Shortly after the beginning of 1952 His Majesty George VI died, to be succeeded as monarch by his daughter Princess Elizabeth. Some weeks later there was another important event “ at least for the blinds trade “ as the first issue of The Blindmaker, the journal of the National Association of Window Blind Manufacturers, was published. Both names have subsequently changed but both have developed over the last 55 years into two vital platforms for the window shading industry. 

 One of the early stalwarts of the NAWBM, Mr Strachan, was at that time a subscriber to one of Turret's (then Wheatland Journals) other titles, Cordage, Canvas and Jute World, started in 1919, and felt that the blind trade would benefit from having its own title.
The first issue contained a statement that:  In making their decision to provide the trade with their own journal, members of the Association had taken a courageous and, it may well prove, decisive step in the fortunes of the industry. Readers were asked at that time to help by submitting news items and photographs and, as now, the journal set a standard for the trade.

Early articles looked at the history of the association and a contributor looked into the history of blinds finding references
in the Victiria & Albert Museum library as far back as 1756 and a further note about railway station blinds in 1842.

In the immediate post-war era, an emerging affluent society was keen to spend money on brightening up the home and it would appear that blinds fitted the bill perfectly. A newspaper report of the time apparently talked about the return of venetian blinds, but not those with cumbersome 6 inch slates; these new fangled blinds used the new narrow aluminium slats! It was also around this time that synthetic fabrics were coming onto the market with an important debate at the time discussing the canvas versus venetian blind controversy.

Articles from the sixties noted the introduction of the first photo-electric blind device from the Automatic Awning Company of Chicago and this was followed shortly after with another major new product “ fade-resistant vinyl fabric, again from America.
Roller blinds were apparently not mentioned very often in the journal apart from the occasional reference to making them more attractive. This seems not to have happened until much later in that decade and into the 1970s. Pinoleum blinds were, however, very much in favour and were at one time tipped to be bigger than Venetians.

The circulation debate was also raised from time to time, debating the old chestnut “ should the magazine be about blinds for the blindmaker, or should it promote blinds to a much wider audience. This was finally resolved in the seventies with the decision to redesign the layout to an A4 format and to actively court architects and designers in a bid to encourage them to consider blinds when designing their buildings. Indeed a special section was published in the journal from that time with articles specifically of interest to the non-blindmaker.

People often say that there is nothing new in the blinds trade and that everything is an evolution of what we've had before.
A read through the back issues of our industry's leading journal tells a different story however. New and truly innovative products abound “ who knows what we will be writing about in another 50 years time.

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