Roman Blind Mechanism in the Headrail

Whether you manufacture your own Roman Blinds, purchase made-to-measure headrails or complete blinds, understanding how the operating mechanisms work helps to choose a control option that suits best your blinds and clients. I’m sure you can offer a wide range of amazing fabrics and accessories but what’s good of all that if your good-looking blinds are a struggle to operate?

What’s the difference?

The roman mechanisms work on the ratio of transferring rotation from the chain cog to the cord drums that move the fabric. It’s the relation between the length of the chain pulled and the distance the fabric’s travelled. So, with a 1:1 mechanism, one revolution of the chain cog equals one revolution of the cord drum. A 1:4 mechanism utilises a gearbox which decreases the ratio by 4, meaning that one revolution (360 degrees) of the chain cog would turn the cord drum inside a headrail only by 90 degrees. Simply put, the 1:1 mechanism is fast but stiffer to operate and the 1:4 mechanism is slow but easier to operate.

Knowing that relation will allow you to determine which mechanism is more suitable for your blind with respect to its width, length and weight of the fabric

1:1 Roman Blind Mechanism

1:1 Roman Blind Mechanism Ratio

1:4 Roman Blind Mechanism

1:4 Roman Blind Mechanism Ratio

A comparison of 1:1 and 1:4 mechanisms – based on an average operating chain ‘pull’ of 40cm.

1:1 vs 1:4 Roman Blind Mechanisms Compared

Which mechanism should I use?

Blinds with 1:1 mechanisms are ideal for smaller, lighter blinds. Also if you want to avoid drilling the walls to install a chain tensioner, the system is suitable to use a cord breakaway device to render your blind child safe, therefore easier to fit. Another advantage of a 1:1 mechanism is that it is faster when operating the blind.

1:1 Standard Roman Blind Mechanism

The advantage of 1:4 mechanisms is that they are suitable for any size blind – big or small and with heavy fabric. They are easier and smoother to operate. On the other hand, the disadvantage of a 1:4 mechanism is that it is slower and the blind will take longer to pull up. Due to child-safety requirements, the chains must be 1500mm from the floor so sometimes you’ll have to use chains with shorter drops.

As the 1:4 mechanism requires more pulling to move the fabric, the chain breakaway connectors are typically not recommended for this system and you’ll have to fix the operating chain to the wall with a tensioning device.

Elite 1:4 Breakaway Roman Blind Mechanism

Similar to its standard counterpart, the 1:4 gear ratio allows users to handle the traditionally heavy fabrics found on most Roman blinds, with a lifting capacity of 10kg so it’s suitable for any blind size. Another advantage of this breakaway mechanism is that you don’t have to worry about applying any other safety devices to render the blind child safe – an ideal option for clients who are looking to create safe spaces.

What makes this breakaway device stand out is how easily a detached operating chain can be returned. With no components coming loose and landing under the fridge, and nothing to unlock or open, users can confidently reinstate the chain themselves in less time than it would take to call you back to the site.

How can I tell the difference between standard 1:1 and standard 1:4 mechanisms?

It’s a frequently asked question as not every single mechanism is marked with the ratio that it operates in. We’re working on getting that solved but for now, here are a few tips on how you can determine the difference between these two alike looking mechanisms.

Difference between 1:1 and 1:4 Roman Blind Mechanism

If the blind has been fitted, you’ll be able to tell straight away if you have a 1:1 or a 1:4 mechanism. If the blind is going up slower than you are pulling the chain, then you have a 1:4 mechanism. If the blind is going up almost as fast as you are pulling the chain, then you have a 1:1 mechanism. However, before you have fitted the blind, the different standard mechanisms look identical – except for one small detail – the collar grub colour. It’s black on a 1:1 mechanism and silver on a 1:4.