Shutters for windows have been around for thousands of years. They are believed to have originated in ancient Greece and slowly spread across the continent, first to the Mediterranean and then to Northern Europe. The aim of shutters in ancient times were to provide light control and primitive air conditioning in hot locations. Those in Greece were believed to be made of marble and therefore were a luxury for the rich. As the idea of shutters spread west to the Roman Empire they became wooden although they where held together with iron grills.
Evidence of panelled and louvered designs similar to modern shutter design has been discovered in Pompeii. At this point in history shutters where limited to being open or closed but the invention of the adjustable louvered shutters changed this. Shutters could now be adjusted to allow in varying amounts of light and heat into a room. Shutters tended to be on the outside of building and in less warm environments they were used to protect the building from rain and wind.
As glass windows slowly developed shutters became limited to the bottom half of windows as the tops tended to be made of glass. As glass became cheaper whole windows replaced the glass and shutter combination. At this point in history circa 16th Century most houses were constructed out of thick stone and couldn’t easily be fastened from inside the window so they moved from outside a building to the inside. With glass becoming common, shutters shifted from having a practical use in terms of protecting from the extremes of weather, to being a decorative addition to a house.