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Origins of Plantation Shutters

Manor House

photo credit: Corey Ann via photopin cc

The exact history of plantation shutters is fairly hard to determine but many people associate plantation shutters with the successful cotton and sugar plantations in the Americas. Shutters were added to the manor homes on the plantations in the 18th century where they gained popularity and their unique style was created, hence how the term “plantation shutters” came about.

The Building Conservation website has some interesting historical information with regards to shutters in the UK which you may find interesting to read.

Shutters can be traced back to ancient Greece where they were originally made from marble making the shutters very strong. But working with marble was very labour-intensive and the material was difficult to work with. The early marble shutter louvers were fixed and unmoveable but these window dressings did provide much more protection than the early window coverings of cloth.

As the popularity of shutters rose, wood craftsman were able to copy and improve the design and the functionality. The louvers could now be moved as working with wood was easier and could be produced much quicker.

When shutters moved over to the Americas, mainly in the south, they soon became a must have for the large plantation manors. In general the louvers were slightly wider and the shutters were almost always white in colour. The word plantation shutters to this day is associated with elegance and grandeur.

Throughout time the main purpose of shutters have included three things; light control, ventilation and protection. With many other benefits now incorporated into the design such as low maintenance, timeless style and durability, shutters are becoming an increasingly popular alternative choice to traditional curtains and blinds.

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