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Zwick Window Shade Co. — making old fashioned quality window shades in the USA since 1930

zwick-window-shade-companyOne of the most retro window coverings around: Roller shades. If you want to get technologically fancy, add a clutch system. If you want to get aesthetically fancy, add a scallop at the bottom… add some old-fashioned trim… and finish off with a pull attached by a Higbee button. Finally, if you want to buy from a company that has made these kinds of shades in the U.S. since 1930, take a look at Zwick Window Shade Company.

1940s-bedroom-2

This is another company that I learned about from Laureen Skrivan of Wren & Willow. She used the shades throughout her 900 s.f. 1940s cottage. Thanks, Laureen!

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Here’s what the About Us page tells us about Zwick Window Shade Company:

Our company was started in 1930 by Ralph Zwick. He began by picking up and delivering shades to be washed for 30 cents each. Shortly thereafter he began making new shades.  In those days there were not multiple qualities of materials and components. All that Ralph could buy were top quality components. Primarily the bulk of components were from Joanna Western Mills Company. The early versions of window shade cloth were all hand painted on big racks with rollers. The base materials were cotton and cotton cambric.  

In the early 1940’s Ralph joined with his father Benjamin, and brother Earl, in a combined window shade and hardware business. This combination continued until the early 1960’s. At that point the two brothers, Ralph and Earl, decided to separate the businesses. Ralph kept the hardware, and Earl kept the window shades. Being a neighborhood business, selling quality was an absolute. 

As neighborhoods changed, and our customer base began to move to the suburbs, because of our reputation we also began doing their new homes in the suburbs. As years went by, their children also became our customers. Today we are making shades for the grandchildren of our original customers. 

In 1981, Earl’s son Michael and his wife Deborah took over the family business. By 2006 it became time for Michael’s son, Emanuel to join the family business. 

The reason we are still able to do what we do is simply manufacturing and selling quality products. Every component that we use, from the rollers, to the sewing thread, to the window shade cloth, has all been thoroughly tested. Our components have been cherry-picked from the pre-eminent manufacturers in the United States and Europe. We always have, and always will, stand by and service everything that we make.

Design your shade online(ish)

zwick-window-shadesZwick has an online shade-builder that kind of gets you going. It inserts the shade material you choose, but you can’t see how your shade will look with various bottom designs and trim alternatives.

bottom-designs-zqickBottom designs: Lots of cool choices — including a bunch of scallop designs in each scallop category.

And there there is the trim:

Categories of trim:

Again, these are just the categories, get onto the website and click the category and see the array of choices?

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The Retro Trims are awesome:

retro-trims-zwickOh my… the 1970s are calling my name right now:

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Link love:

 

  1. Bobbie says:

    Oh my goodness – Pam, thank you so much for posting this story. When I have some time later I’m going to spend it looking at their site. These look great! And those retro trims! Yum! When I moved into my little mid-century-modest bungalow I wanted roller shades for privacy (loved the large, plentiful, windows, but not necessarily being on display each evening!) At the time had a hard time finding a quality product that looked good so I settled for those off the rack, cut to fit ones from a big box store. They never fit quite right, and feel unfinished and temporary to be honest. Looking forward to maybe getting something much better from a made in America, tried and true, company! Thanks!

  2. Carolyn says:

    Weird thing I know:
    Gimp – doesn’t look like much on its own but adds that last little bit (usually to cover seams or tacks) that proclaims the project “finished”. A “gimper” is the one who applies this. Dolly Parton considers herself a “professionalist” which has nothing to do with with being a perfectionist. A professionalist does their job well and adds that last little bit, the finishing touch – just like a gimper.
    Isn’t that what we do with our MCm’s?
    No doubt these shades will, at first glance, seem price-y…but like all good things made to last, amortized over their lifetime, they’ll be viewed as an investment. (Unlike vinyl shades and stinkin’ mini-blinds – the bane of my existence!)

  3. mag says:

    Got a headache at the moment, but I want to say that even though my MIL had her late fifties kitchen and bathrooms taken down to the studs and updated in the nineties, she reordered roll shades for all the front windows of her house. Her’s are white, scalloped, with white trim, and has a pull cord attached to the center of the scalloped edge. I’ve been considering them for the windows on our recently purchased mid-sixties house because of my experience with my MIL’s roll shades. 🙂

  4. Christian says:

    My church is remodeling to a style consistent with 1939, the year the original 1906 building was expanded. I had decide roller shades would look best on the 10 3-over-1 windows in the chapel but wasn’t sure where to find nice ones. You just save me a bunch of time. Thank you.

  5. pam kueber says:

    Good luck, I don’t have personal experience with these shades, but the company sure has been in business a long time!

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