I have not read anything to the contrary, so I will propose this as a possible reason to the question; "Why Blinds, and not ante's, and why were they invented?" I can remember occasionally running into blinds in my youth, back in the 60's. I have no clue how long they have been used.
At a full active social table, especially early, there is so much distraction that for a dealer to try to get the attention of each player in turn to ante up, the situation got too exasperating. Someone came up with the idea to rotate the ante's around the table, with one player ante'ing up 2/3 of all the ante's involved, and the player in front of him ante'ing up the other 1/3.
I'd bet the dealers immediately loved this new idea, and in the days before casino's set the standard, when dealers were traveling salesman, it probably spread fast.
But poker didn't used to use dealers so much. Home games, which tend to be more social early on, would have a rotating dealer scheme, and it would have been much easier for the dealer to tap the guy to his left to ante up, under this new scheme, and watch as he tapped the guy to his left to make the bigger ante.
Why call them blinds?
It is essentially a blind bet. It might been seeing as the small blind makes the min bet, and the bb raises. This has an effect of setting the action into motion.
Laziness being the father of invention, it was laziness which promoted blinds. Guys were to lazy to catch each players attention to make sure the ante's were paid.
If someone has the real, documented story about the development of blinds I would love to read it. Else it has faded into myth, and here was my version.