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How umbrella is made?

Not many people are aware that in ancient Greek and Rome, an umbrella was primarily a woman's object and men who used it were subjected to ridicule. In the first century Roman women took to oiling their paper sunshades, intentionally creating first ever rain umbrellas.

Modern umbrellas are not as fascinating as their ancient history but if you ever been to an old fashioned umbrella shop you will agree that there is more to them than meets the eye. There are of course budget umbrellas that seem basic and practical but if you dig a little deeper you will find wonderful umbrellas that have been made with love and hard work. If you ever wondered how exactly umbrellas are made let us tell you more.

In the past umbrella frames had been made from either cane or whalebone; whalebone umbrellas especially were bulky and awkward. Nowadays in any umbrella shop you will find brollies made with fibreglass, steel or lighter option: aluminum. Modern umbrellas are made by a hand-assembly process that, except for a few critical areas, can be done by semi-skilled workers.

Assembling of an umbrella usually starts with a wooden or metal pole. Fibreglass use is not as common as we think  and used most in production of golf umbrellas. Next come ribs that run underneath the top of a canopy and stretchers that connect the ribs with the shaft of the umbrella. Ribs get secured to the tip of the umbrella and the stretchers get connected to the pole, joined together by a metal hinge they create the frame of an umbrella.

Two very important parts are catch springs allowing the brolly to open and stop it from closing. They are usually inserted into hollowed metal or wood pole close to the handle and then close to the top of a brolly.

These days modern umbrella shops offer variety of canopies but most of them are made from nylon, polyester, pongee fabric or most recently PVC. The canopy panels are sewn separately to the ribs because each panel has to be shaped to the curve of the canopy. Panels are cut out by a machine, the pattern and coating are applied by the fabric supplier and depend on the shop owners request.

Lastly, finishing touches are applied with a tip placed on top of the canopy;  a wooden, plastic or rubber handle is glued at the end of the pole and optionally small wooden or plastic caps are placed at the end of each ribs.

And ta-da! You have an umbrella! So next time you’re at an umbrella shop we hope you will look closely at each masterpiece and remember how the humble umbrella is made.

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