The History of the Umbrella

One of the useful things that most people have at least one of in their house these days is the humble umbrella. But how long have we been using them and where do they come from?
Of course, umbrellas are not only used to keep us dry from the rain, we also use them to keep us cool from the sun. The first recorded use of sun-protecting parasols comes from Ancient Egypt, over 3500 years ago.
Back in those days, it was simply some palm leaves attached to a stick. However, Egyptian parasols soon developed into something that was used by nobles, religious leaders and royalty. It was considered a sign of wealth and privilege to have pale skin that had not seen much sun.
Egypt, Africa and the Middle East isn’t known for heavy rainfall, so the waterproof umbrella didn’t appear until the Chinese invented it in 11th century BC, where first silk and waterproof umbrellas started being used by nobility and royalty. The trend soon spread to royalty and the nobility in Burma and Siam (modern-day Thailand).
During 1st millennia BC, umbrellas came to Ancient Greece and Rome where they were viewed as a luxurious female accessory. Apparently, both Greek and Roman women had umbrellas that could open and close, and were often carried not by noble women but by slaves and servants. Umbrellas were not so popular with men at that time, although some men did use them in Rome.
Umbrellas fell in popularity after the Roman Empire fell in the 5th century AD, and umbrellas almost totally disappeared from Europe. But they returned again to French, Italian and English royalty and nobility in the late 16th and 17th centuries .
As time passed, umbrellas slowly spread across the rest of Europe and to North America. England finally accepted the use of the umbrella by the 1790s when many more reinforced and heavier umbrellas started being made and advertised.
Pocket umbrellas were invented in 1928, and the folding mechanism we know today came to the market in 1969.
These days, some umbrellas can withstand storm winds of up to 100km/h and can't be turned inside out! 

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