In the UK, the umbrella is a necessary accessory if you want to stay protected from the elements. With so much money spent on umbrellas each year, it has now become a necessity for everyone. This was not the case back in the days when only the rich and famous carried the umbrella. Read all about the interesting history behind the umbrella.
400-300 BC: Parasols and the elite
Many years ago, umbrellas were used as an accessory for the elite. A brolly around the 4thcentury BC was used solely to protect our ancestors from the sun — otherwise known today as a parasol. In fact, the term parasol is from the Spanish words for stop (para) and sun (sol). Similarly, the world ‘umbrella’ is from the Latin word for shade — umbra.
The ancient Greeks, Romans, Chinese, Egyptians, all used a parasol. Parasols were used by high-ranking women, members of the clergy, and other powerful public figures. The use of a parasol was a clear symbol of rank and superiority.
1600s: The use of umbrellas in the rain
The use of umbrellas to keep dry from the rain started in 1600s. The Europeans – England, France and Italy started the trend, and the rest of the world followed. Most umbrellas were made from silk s they were not used for moisture protection back then, but designers started to figure out waterproof designs that help the umbrella keep us dry in the rain.
1700s and 1800s: The rise of the umbrella
The use of umbrellas increased in the 1700s, however they were used more by women. In the 18th century, Jonas Hanway launched a trend in men’s umbrellas by walking around with one and the trend took off. By the 19thcentury, the rain umbrella became a common accessory for everyone. However men’s umbrellas were much heavier than women’s, while women’s brollies were smaller.
1900s: The launch of the pocket umbrella
In the 1900s, the elite had no interest in using parasols. They eventually faded out of fashion around the 1930s with more and more women picking a tanned skin over the pale white complexion. Hans Haupt also helped create a compact easy to use umbrella in 1928, which became the first pocket umbrella in the world.
Today: The rise of the tech umbrella
Today, we all use umbrellas – men, women and children. There are many designs, colours and sizes available so you will always find the right umbrella for your needs. Nowadays, you can find windproof umbrellas designed to combat intense rain and gusts without turning inside out — a major annoying bugbear of the brolly user. You can also find tech umbrellas enhanced with gadgets, like GPS, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth!
The transformation of the umbrella
The transformation of the umbrella is so interesting. I can imagine more exciting advances in technology for the future when it comes to the umbrella. The history behind it is impressive. The umbrella has come a long way and I know it will continue to evolve.
I am yet to own a tech umbrella but I will be grabbing one soon just to have a feel of how it works. Do you have a tech umbrella?