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Beverlyheels StyleAccessories: Umbrellas

Accessories: Umbrellas

Posted on Thu, Jul 5th, 2018

Hail the sun and the rain!

It’s funny how we don’t think too much about the things we use daily or frequently. It could have an ancient origin or maybe something really new. One of them is the umbrella. The origin of umbrella is quite eventful. In its earliest appearances, the umbrella was made of a simple palm leaf. Although it’s a general accessory now, the palm leaf umbrella used to be a status symbol. The umbrellas, of course, were used for protection from the rain and the sun as well.

Protection from the sun using parasols and umbrellas began being popular from the Egyptian civilization. Parasols first appeared in ancient Egypt over three thousand years ago. Created to protect nobility and royalty from sunlight and enable their lifestyle that demanded pale skin, Egyptians never found a reason to waterproof their parasols and create umbrellas. Besides Egypt, other countries that used umbrella during the 4th century BC were ancient Rome, ancient Greece, ancient Egypt, Middle East and India.

In the 11th century BC, the umbrella we know now was invented in China. The first umbrella was made of leather and was sold at a very high price to the nobility and royalty, who seemed to be their only users. The umbrellas did not reach Europe till the early second millennia. Wealthy and influential women from Greece and Rome used it to protect themselves from the sun. But the men used hats and coats instead as they thought the parasol to be a feminine product.

The rain umbrella didn’t come to use till the 17th century, in selected European countries like Italy, France and England. Woven out of silk, it offered very limited protection from the rain. But the distinct canopy shape has remained unchanged from then to the modern age. By the mid-18th century, the umbrella became a common item among the ladies. But it was only in 1750, when an Englishman, Jonas Hanway, carried a rain umbrella out in public, that men started warming up to the idea of the umbrella being suitable for men. Gradually, the umbrella became popular among both men and women. Zipping to 1928, Hans Haupt created the folding pocket umbrella and Bardford E Phillips secured the patent in 1969, for the first “working folding umbrella".

The materials used for umbrellas have since evolved. Modern day treated nylon fabric have replaced silk and fiberglass has replaced whale-bones for the handle, making it more weather proof, be it the sun or rain. Select your favorite umbrella from

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