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A brief history of umbrellas

Introduction: A circular awning or canopy having the support of central spokes and a strong pole is known as an umbrella. Generally, an umbrella is used to have protection from rain. As a popular saying goes “An umbrella cannot make the rain stop but it makes us stand in rain.”

The expedition of the umbrella was started from leaf shield in ancient ages to the modern society umbrella used to have protection from rain or the sun and gradually became the emblem of royalty. The umbrella word is derived from a Latin word “umbra”. “Umbra” means shadow. Generally, umbrella is used to have protection from rain but initially, the architecture of umbrella was designed for the protection from the sun. They were known as Parasols.

History: It is said that Egypt was the first country to use the parasol to protect their royal family from the sun about 4000 years ago. First, they used flagellum. Various paintings of ancient Egypt were found showing men with royalty having parasols on their heads making their pale skin untouched from the sun. Evidence are there supporting the fact that in Greece and Assyria there was also the use of umbrella at the same time. A 4rth century painting describing Nikias which is at the Triteia in Achaia has women and a slave with a parasol. This painting can be taken as the proof of use of the umbrella in ancient Greece.

But these umbrellas were not waterproof at that time they were used to have shade from the sun. China holds the record of developing waterproof umbrella for the first time. China was also an aggressive country to use the umbrella. A 2400-year-old book called Zhou Li shows the use of the umbrella in various places.

Also, Indian history states the use umbrella in various places known as Chatra. In 4rt century BC in Mahabharata, it is stated that Renuka the wife of Jamadagni was once offered an umbrella by the Sun.

In Europe, the umbrella was used as the female fashion accessory but Jonas Hanway an English man had popularized umbrella among the male population of Europe. Know the designs of modern umbrellas have similarity to umbrellas used in Greece and Rome.

The “James Smith and Sons” was the first ever umbrella shop and was located in England at Oxford Street, London. It was established in 1830 and still, it is there. In 1852 the steel ribbed umbrella was first designed by Samuel Fox.

With time-based on design deferent types of umbrellas were built like classic umbrellas having easy use mechanism, Automatic Umbrellas having the automatic mechanism for opening and closing, pocket umbrellas, Bubble umbrellas etc.

The first folding umbrella was seen in 1928 by Hans Haupt. But it is believed that long before this these kinds of umbrellas were seen in late Song Dynasty, China.

10th February is known as National Umbrella Day. Now a day’s umbrella is in high value as a global market product. The highest number of the umbrella is made in China as per the record of 2008.

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