Women’s umbrella — origin story.
«Nature has no bad weather,» was sung in one song to the notorious movie, the heroine of which had a habit of traveling with an umbrella. And the truth is: in any weather, we can now feel quite comfortable. If it’s pouring like a bucket outside, and we definitely need to get out of the house, the little helper of the women’s umbrella is right there! He opened it over his head, and immediately it became more fun — now we won’t get wet. But here’s what is surprising: three millennia ago, when the umbrella had just appeared, it did not know how to protect against rain; its main opponents were the sun and heat.
It is believed that the first umbrellas from the sun appeared in Egypt and China, and only rulers and other important people could use them. And no wonder — in those days, the progenitor of umbrellas looked a little like his contemporaries: a large, heavy, umbrella was more like a whole canopy! He could only be held by a servant or a slave, or even more than one. Depending on the country, umbrellas were made from palm leaves, feathers from large birds, or leather. The umbrella was a luxury item, a symbol of power. Mere mortals could not afford to buy an umbrella.
In India, anyone could use an umbrella, but only one, because by their number it was easy to determine how important and noble a person was in front of you. True, the townsfolk were forbidden to have white umbrellas; only rulers had such a privilege.
But all these umbrellas were too simple in their design. The first folding umbrellas appeared in China under Wang Mang in the 1st century BC. BC, or according to another version, even earlier — during the Zhou dynasty in the 6th century. BC. Later, the fashion for umbrellas spread throughout Ancient Greece and Rome. The umbrella was popular among the fair sex, made of leather, and often had a handle not in the middle, but somewhere on the side. As you know, many women are very economic in their hearts, and therefore the sun umbrella was soon improved: they began to impregnate it with oil, in connection with which it acquired water-repellent properties.
In the 17th century, among the inhabitants of Europe, the fashion for women’s cloth umbrellas «parasols» began to spread, which means «to protect from the sun.» Umbrellas came in all shapes, sizes, and colors, although truly elegant women were advised to refrain from overly bright colors and prefer beige.
And only in the 50s of the XVIII century. the rain umbrella began to conquer Europe. This was helped by the well-known English traveler Jonas Hanway. The cloudy and rainy weather of his native London got so tired of him one day that he borrowed the idea of a «personal canopy with a handle» from the southern peoples. At first, everyone made fun of him and considered him an eccentric, but after a couple of decades, isolated cases of using an umbrella as a shelter from the rain began to appear, and a little later their production was put on stream.
The main materials for umbrellas at that time were silk and canvas. In order to protect them from rain, the fabric was impregnated with oil or rubberized, which often made it difficult to open the umbrella.
The domes of modern umbrellas are made mainly of synthetic fabrics such as nylon, polyester and satin with a special coating, and the frame is made of steel. There are two main types: a cane umbrella and a folding umbrella. Each of them has its own admirers: for some, the elegance of a cane umbrella will be an obvious advantage, while others will prefer a compact folding women’s umbrella that fits in any bag without any problems.
So the next time it rains and you open your life-saving umbrella, imagine what changes it had to go through to become what it is now above your head!
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