How the Parasol Evolved into the Modern Umbrella

One of the commonest household items is the umbrella. Yet it used to be a status symbol for the wealthy. The origins of the umbrella have been traced to ancient Egypt, about 3500 B.C. This ancestor of our modern item was a branch or stick with palm leaves or feathers attached which was held over the heads of the nobility to keep the sun off. The Chinese were the first to create waterproof material from silk, making a more practical item, keeping off both rain and sun.

The idea spread to Europe but it wasn’t until the eighteenth century that men began using umbrellas in Europe since it was considered a feminine accessory. By the twentieth century, practically every household had an umbrella stand, filled with umbrellas. In 1969 Bradford E. Phillips of Ohio invented the mechanism that permitted the development of a folding umbrella.

The choice of umbrella tends to make a statement about the person carrying it. Some people prefer conservative, black umbrellas with a handle like a walking stick or cane. Others love brilliant yellows and greens, reds and blues and purples. On rainy days, city streets and sometimes the moods of the people traversing them are brightened by the vivid colors of the umbrellas. Artists often paint such scenes.

Umbrellas are still being developed in El Monte. Hundreds of new patents are submitted every year. Most umbrellas have ribs made from stainless steel although high end products can use fiberglass. The material that covers the umbrella is usually waterproofed nylon. Thirty-three million umbrellas are sold in the U.S. every year. Folding umbrellas are one of the most popular types because they can be easily stored. You can get promotional umbrellas with your company or club name on them. For almost every type of umbrella, contact Raintec Umbrellas at

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Author: Myrtice Lovett

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