Vertical louvre blinds have been around now for some 100 years or so. The original vertical blind is thought to have been invented in Kansas City, Missouri by Edward and Frederick Bopp who held the original patent until it was sold.
Back in the early 1980’s we watched the vertical blind take many sales away from the more traditional venetian type. Most customers were wanting to get away from the ‘dust-trap’ metal venetian and, frankly, who would blame them? Although the humble venetian blind was, and still is, a most effective way of providing solar and heat control, the vertical louvre blind was a better, more contemporary option because of the softer look of the fabric louvres, and it was an efficient way of covering large glazed areas, such as patio doors. Back then sliding patio doors were the ‘new thing’ and the vertical blind was perfect for these larger areas of glass.
Most fabrics were of a hessian appearance and there were just a few variations of texture, colour, weave and density. All the headrails were quite basic, but in the main consisted of an extruded aluminium track with two controls that allowed the user to both draw the louvres with a cord and twist the louvres through a chain loop. As a rule, the louvres were 127mm / 5” wide. Often the tracks were quite basic and only allowed you to draw the louvres by physically dragging them across the window.
Over the many years that followed louvres became available in plastic (PVC), fabric, embossed PVC, Faux wood, wood as well as laminated PVC and fibreglass.
We now have many fabric types available such as voiles, opaque (‘blackout’) dim-out, printed and so on. Whilst there are still some PVC louvres available the demand in the main is for softer, decorative and thermally efficient fabrics. Many fabrics are available with special reflective coatings that perform exceptionally well in hot sunny elevations
At Nantmor we have always made our own vertical blinds. We’ve manufactured a range of different systems over the years and have always focussed on producing what we felt were the very best available.
The broad range of clients and projects that we’ve dealt with has given us decades of experience. Dealing with some of the most demanding clients has given us a perspective of wanting to only install the most robust hardware on any blind that we make.
We’ve installed many thousands of blinds in Police Stations, Schools, Colleges, Universities, Academies, Hospitals and Public buildings where the end user is all too frequently inexperienced in how to operate the blinds and this would give rise to an occasional issue if the headrail was not of sufficient quality.
We soon learnt that whilst none of want to spend more than we must, it’s false economy to produce something cheaper if it doesn’t perform well in the long term. Our policy of wanting to simply supply the best available, led us to generally produce German designed products in our Factories. The effort our German suppliers made in both machinery and plant, component’s, planning and service went way beyond anything any alternative suppliers could offer so we made a commitment to German suppliers.
The headrail we make is different to most.
The carriers, that hold the louvre at the headrail, is produced with wheels that ensure smooth running of the louvres.
An integrated clutch within the carriers ensures the louvres ‘self-align’, should they be caught up in any way.
An adjustable end retainer at the opposite end to the drive, allows you to unclip the louvre stack and move them along the track which will allow access to clean the window.
The way in which the blind is operated is now available in many options –
Rod or wand control – ours consists of a triangular extruded aluminium rod. This is considered ‘inherently safe’ under the current EU/UK Child Safety legislation, as no chain or cord loops are present, and is very popular in household installations. Most other widely available systems have a plastic or acrylic wand which flexes badly and frequently fails.
Mono-control through a chain loop – this allows twisting and drawing through one continuous action.
Traditional dual control – a chain to twist, and a cord to draw the louvres.
Motorised – we have a low voltage motor that is attached behind the rail. This is plugged into mains power, and all operation is controlled with a hand-held remote. We have a number of control options such as an App that will listen to Amazon’s ‘Alexa’; you can programme different scenario’s where you can operate the blinds in a number of ways throughout the day even when you’re away from home. This motor can also be controlled by many Smart Home management systems.
We manufacture sloping blinds, arched and curved bay window tracks too so there aren’t many situations a vertical blind can’t fit into. Literally.
Are the blinds tested to perform – how do I know what you’re saying isn’t just sales-talk?
Good question. To an untrained eye one headrail or blind can look much like any other.
The best way to judge a blind is to operate it. Feel the way the chain turns the louvres. Feel the resistance when pulling the cord or drawing the wand.
Does it feel super-smooth? Do the louvres turn gently and in a way in which it will be easy for you to get just the angle or position you want?
Are the louvre hooks able to be replaced in case of accidental breakage?
How tough is the rail and components? Our system can take up to 20kg of louvre weight.
How big can you make it? Good test, this – ours will go to 5.50m wide and 4.80m drop with a max. area of 35 sq. m
Tests? The system we have is tested to operate efficiently for up to 5000 operation cycles. 10,000 if it’s motorised. That’s upward of 10 to 15 years of expected use.