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16 fun facts about the humble umbrella

The humble umbrella. Always there for you, come rain or shine, wind or sleet, the trusty brolly is there to help protect you from the elements no matter what the occasion. Here are 16 fun facts you can enjoy on the thing we love the most here at Jolly Brolly: The Umbrella!

1. The word umbrella originates from the Latin word "umbros" which means shadow or shade.

2. English nobility in the 19th century favoured umbrellas made from green or blue silk.

3. Steel ribbed umbrellas were conceived in 1852 by a man named Samuel Fox.

4. The first working "folding umbrella" was introduced in 1969 by Bradford Philips.

5. More than 33 million umbrellas are sold in the United States of America every year.

6. The first ever man to carry an umbrella in public was Englishman Jonas Hanway. It was his influence that was the catalyst for umbrella use among the male population of England, which was soon followed by the entire world.

7. Today’s style of umbrellas are extraordinarily similar in their design to that of the models which were used in among the people who lived in ancient Greece and Rome.

8. Modern day common use of umbrellas began to spread across Europe in the mid-18th  century. Until this time, umbrellas were seen as a female fashion accessory.

9. Currently there are many types of umbrellas on the market - traditional, automatic, compact, bubble, and storm. (All of these styles of brollies are for sale with us at Jollybrolly).

10. Most umbrellas produced today are finished with a coating of Teflon, which makes their canopy waterproof.

11. The first waterproofed umbrellas were actually created in ancient China, more than 3000 years ago. Scores of Asian rulers showcased their might with multi-tiered parasols that, in some instances, would have as many as 20 levels of protection.

12. The city of Shangyu in China has over a thousand umbrella factories.

13. Umbrellas can be used as offensive and defensive weapon. French President Nicolas Sarkozy was first who started using Kevlar coated umbrellas as a part of his security measures.

14. During the 19th century, European fashion stated that umbrellas should be held in the middle of their shaft, with the handle pointing toward the ground.

15. The initial use of basic forms of sun protecting umbrellas, or parasols, comes from 3000-4000 year old Egypt and Assyria. The exact period in which parasols from natural materials, such as palm leaves, were made is currently unknown, although scientists estimate that they have been used since as far back as the dawn of human civilization.

16. During the first 1000 years of use, parasols were seen as a symbol of wealth and power. There were lots of civilizations who practised the tradition of highlighting exotic and complex made parasols of their rulers as a showcase.