If you think umbrellas are just for keeping the weather off you, then you’re mistaken. This unique and innovative item was a design triumph in its day. It has had a huge cultural impact in a number of different ways. If you want to know a bit more about the history of the umbrella, as well as some more interesting facts about it and things that are associated with it, then check out this article. You’re int he right place for 10 interesting facts about umbrellas.
You can get umbrellas for all sorts of things. They’re most commonly used to protect you from rainfall. That’s what some people think they were invented for, but were they? While people try and come up with new ideas for technology, this one has been around for a while. If it’s not broken, why fix it? But you can also get sun umbrellas. And don’t forget those little ones you get in your cocktail!
But what about some umbrella facts? If you want to know more about umbrellas, their history, and some interesting facts let’s have a look…
1. Umbrellas are originally from China
Just like fireworks and loads of other things that are still used in the modern world, umbrellas were actually invented thousands of years ago in ancient China. The Chinese were the first to come up with a collapsible dome that was used primarily to give shade to noblemen and rulers, especially when traveling. Early trade, especially on the Silk Route, lead to umbrellas spreading across the world reasonably quickly. They spread to Korean and Japan first of all, and then eventually to Europe.
2. Umbrellas suffered a dip in popularity before become more common again
While this early trade led to umbrellas being popular all over the world, this came to an end after a while. They were originally popular in the times of the Roman empire, but became less-so during the middle ages. Perhaps because materials became harder to find again, and trade routes were disrupted. They soon started becoming popular again during the Renaissance, but really took off in modern times and after the industrial revolution, where materials and production-processes changed so that they became cheap enough for normal people to own rather than just the richer or more noble classes.
3. The word umbrella is based on shade rather than rain
While you might think umbrellas are originally for protecting you from rain, that’s not how they first came about. As we’ve already touched on, umbrellas were originally used to shade noblemen in ancient China and beyond. The word umbrella also comes from the Latin for shade and shadow as it was used similarly as the technology started to take off in Europe. As it became more popular in England, this word became the one for something that keeps you protected from the rain.
4. Only women used to use umbrellas
While they might have been invented for noblemen, when they became popular in Europe they became a symbol of femininity. That meant they were only used by women (and wealthy ones at that). After a while, this changed as men started being seen using them.
5. Rihanna’s Umbrella song stayed at number one in the UK for 10 weeks
That made it the longest consecutive chart-topper in the country for the entire decade. The song was ubiquitous with 2007. It also stayed on top of the American Billboard Charts for 7 weeks. It was one of the biggest hits of the 00s and one of the first big digital hits as MP3 players were becoming more and more popular.
6. Umbrellas were innovated and designs changed over the years
Older umbrellas share a lot of similarities with those you see today. The main essence of the technology hasn’t changed much. However, there were lots of new innovations in the 19th century. One of the biggest innovations of this time was the bottom which collapses the umbrella when pressed. This button would also inflate the device when necessary. This made umbrellas a lot more convenient and easy to use for everyone, and lead to a rapid increase in sales and popularity.
7. Most umbrellas are still produced in China
It makes sense since they were invented there, but it might surprise you to know that despite their huge worldwide popularity—most umbrellas are still made in the country they originated from. Perhaps this is a coincidence since lots of items like this are made in China today, even ones that have no history there. However, there’s one city in China that actually makes more umbrellas than anywhere else. That city is Songxia, and it has produced around half a billion umbrellas. The city has more than a thousand factories and produces nearly a third of China’s total umbrella output.
8. Egypt also claims to have created the umbrella
Like a lot of things that have been around a long time, there’s a bit of disagreement about where had the first umbrella. Another ancient civilization, this time in Egypt, also claims to have made the first umbrella. It’s likely that both places came up with the idea independently, but the Chinese claim is the one that experts think helped the device spread to the West.
9. You can get bullet-proof umbrellas
Well, almost. Security services have started developing kevlar coated umbrellas to protect heads of state and other important individuals. These are a bit heavier than a standard rain umbrella.
10. Umbrella covers have become a collector’s item
You might not think much about the cover your umbrella comes in, but some people do. Actually, there’s even a museum for umbrella covers, and these have become a popular collectible.
Did you know these facts before? Hopefully, they’ve given you a bit more insight on where umbrellas are from and what they’re used for.