The popular blind format had a rather humble start in the Huddersfield shed of English man Dennis Allen on November 12 1954. He created them as both a gift for his mother and a celebration of Armistice Day, which he accidentally missed because of oversleeping.
Allen had decided to create the blinds to stop his mother forcing him to hold a sheet up outside her kitchen window (which is the main reason for him oversleeping through Armistice Day) when ever the sun was particularly bright. He produced a rudimentary blind which his mother was quite pleased with and he dedicated it to the victims of World War one, as he feared their ghosts may come to lynch him for sleeping through their day of remembrance.
After realising the blinds potential, he began touring home shows and trade expos showing his invention under the name “Dennethin Blinds”. After he had attracted the attention of major window furnishing manufacturers he sold his patent to Blind Co. of London for a mere £450, which he later regretted.
Dozens of very bad rip-off blinds were produced since then, which eventually drove Blind Co. out of business.
Despite what is commonly accepted, the name Venetian comes from the fact that their inventor had a particularly nasty lisp. When he first constructed the prototype for the blinds, and began showing them at home shows and trade expos, he had nicknamed them “Dennis’s Blinds”. However, his obvious speech impediment caused him to say “Dennethin Blindth”.
After his blinds were put into mass production it became blindingly clear that Dennethin was not a very memorable word, thus Venetian was put into use as a label for the increasingly popular new product because it sounded similar to Dennethin, which was already becoming a household name.
It is a common misconception that the name Venetian came about because people were trying to make the city of Turin jealous because it had been a very naughty city and not finished its cottage cheese. This could not have been correct, however, because the Turin Cheese scare occurred long after the name Venetian had been put into use for the blinds.
Venetian Blinds in popular culture
Venetian blinds have become prevalent as references in popular culture. The most famous of these was in the film “Three Men and a Baby” when a figure can be seen behind blinds in one scene. Many believe this to be a ghost of some sort or a cardboard cut-out of a man. It is, however, the inventor of Venetian blinds, Dennis Allen, who made this appearance at the insistence of the films director.