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Surprising facts about Umbrellas

When we are on foot in the big wide world and it starts to rain we have one main way of keeping dry, the humble umbrella. It’s an item so simple and so common it is often overlooked and considered boring because we are so exposed to them, especially here in England where its considered an everyday item!

Here are some interesting and fun facts that will spark up your imagination when it comes to umbrellas, and then why not visit our website for a fantastic range of umbrellas from clear dome umbrellas to baby umbrellas to keep your little one dry when the skies open up!


  • Steel ribbed umbrellas were invented in 1852 by Samuel Fox.
  • First working "folding umbrella" was introduced in 1969 by Bradford Philips.
  • Over 33 million umbrellas are sold in United States each year.
  • First use of simple made sun protecting umbrellas (parasols) comes from Egypt and Assyria 3000-4000 years ago. The exact time when parasols from natural materials (palm leaves) were made is not known, although scientist speculate they were used since the dawn of human civilization.
  • During its first thousand years of life, parasols were viewed as a symbol of wealth and power. Many civilizations practiced tradition of showcasing exotic and complex made parasols of their rulers.
  • First waterproofed umbrellas were created in ancient China, over 3 thousand years ago. Many Asian rulers showcased their might with multi-tiered parasols that sometimes had up to 20 levels of protection.
  • From around 1000 BC to 400 AD, small and foldable parasols (in their design almost identical to modern umbrellas) represented one of the fashion accessories of females in Greece and Rome.
  • Umbrellas can be used as offensive and defensive weapon. French President Nicolas Sarkozy was first who started using Kevlar coated umbrella as a part of his security measures.
  • Umbrella can be used offensively as a weapon, or its shaft can effectively hide a secret blade. Modern security agencies are known to modify umbrellas for their secret purposes. For example, Bulgarian writer Georgi Markov was assassinated in 1978 by KGB agent who carried deadly poison in his modified umbrella.
  • No less than 11 patents have been filed for umbrellas that are incorporated into a backpack of some kind.
  • In 1991, the artist Christo installed giant yellow umbrellas in a California mountain pass. On October 26, wind blew over one of the 485-pound umbrellas, causing damage.