History of the Umbrella

A brief history of the umbrella

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History of the Umbrella

Traditional umbrella drawing The word umbrella comes from the latin word umbra meaning shade. Umbrellas are an ancient invention, they are found sculptured on the monuments of Egypt. From paintings on ancient Greek vases it is clear that umbrellas similar to those in use at the present time were known many years before 0 AD. The Chinese were the first to wax their paper umbrellas to protect them from the rain.

In moden times everyday use of umbrellas to protect from rain was common by the 1750s in Paris but they were not common in London until 30 years later. Early umbrellas were made of wood or whalebone. In the 1850s steel framed umbrellas were invented and compact collapsable umbrellas did not appear for another 100 years.

Conventional umbrellas have eight panels of cloth sewn together mounted on eight spokes which bend and keep the cloth canopy rigid. If the cloth stretches (after getting wet) or becomes detached from a spoke then it can blow inside out.
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