Happy national umbrella day!

Umbrellas were invented over 4,000 years ago as suggested by ancient Egyptian artwork. Artifacts and art suggesting the use of umbrellas can also be found in Assyria, Greece and China. Umbrellas, or also known as parasols were first used to provide shade from the sun. The Chinese were the first to use waterproof umbrellas in order to shield themselves from the rain. This was done by using wax and lacquer on their paper parasols.

The word umbrella comes from the word for shade in Latin- “Umbra”. Umbrellas became widely popular in Northern Europe in the 16th century, mainly due to the areas rainy weather. Originally the umbrella was only used by women as it was deemed an accessory only fit for women. This was until the traveler and writer Jonas Hanway publicly carried and used an umbrella for himself during the 18th century. Over his 30 years of using the umbrella in England it then began to be popularized among men.

Early umbrellas were made of wood or bone, covered in alpaca or oiled canvas. Manufacturers mad curved handles out of hard wood and were well paid for their craftsmanship. In 1852 the steel ribbed umbrella was first designed.  Designs of umbrellas still evolve to this day, with pocket sized umbrellas, collapsible umbrellas and many more!