is commonly believed that shutters were first used
in ancient Greece. They were used for light control,
ventilation and protection from the tropical environment.
Those first shutters were likely constructed with
fixed louvers and made out of marble. Shutters spread
throughout the Mediterranean and their form began
to change from marble to wood. Movable louver shutters
began to surface as a need to allow varying amounts
of light and air into a room and the solid shutters
provided more insulation and were able to prevent
insects from entering the home.
In medieval Europe, houses had rectangular windows
with solid shutters that sometimes closed with a
large iron bar for security and protection. By Tudor
and Elizabethan times, glass windows started to be
used, but they were very expensive, therefore reserved
for the upper half of window openings. Solid wood
shutters below the sash, windows remained closed
with solid shutters. Hinged glazed sashes started
replacing the solid shutters in the 15 th century.
After that, interior shutters were increasingly used
as decoration in homes rather than strictly functional
purposes. Woodwork like window shutters and moldings
became the main decorative elements in smaller houses
in early 18 th century England.
As the Spanish started colonizing in the Americas,
they brought shutters to the New World. Decadent
mansions in the South used shutters, and the term, ‘plantation
shutters” is derived from this area. Plantation
shutters on cotton plantations usually had wider
louvers than shutters used earlier, and they were
almost always painted white.
Traditional shutters often found in the New England
states trace their roots to England, where the narrower
louver was used. Often café type shutters
mimic the original use of shutters on the bottom
portion of windows before glass was affordable.
wood construction started to be used for houses in
the Victorian period, people started using shutters
outdoors. The stone brick houses built previously
had deeply recessed windows that prohibited the use of exterior shutters because
they would be unreachable from the inside. However, the thinner wooden walls
allowed indoor access to exterior shutters.