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Before 4000 years, ancient China, the Middle East, ancient Egypt, ancient Greece, ancient Rome, ancient India, Siam, Aztec Empire, Europe. They recorded the use of umbrellas. Samuel Fox invented the steel-ribbed umbrella in 1852
Madonna dell Ombrello, by Girolamo dai Libri, 1530 One of the earliest depictions is in a painting by Girolamo dai Libri from 1530 titled Madonna dell Ombrello (Madonna of the Umbrella) in which the Virgin Mary is sheltered by a cherub carrying a large, red umbrella
In John Florio's "A WORLD of Words" (1598), the Italian word Ombrella is translateda fan, a canopie. also a testern or cloth of state for a prince. also a kind of round fan or shadowing that they vse to ride with in sommer in Italy, a little shade. Also a bonegrace for a woman. Also the husk or cod of any seede or corne. also a broad spreding bunch, as of fenell, nill, or elder bloomes.
Thomas Wright, in his Domestic Manners of the English, gives a drawing from the Harleian MS., No. 604, which represents an Anglo-Saxon gentleman walking out attended by his servant, the servant carrying an umbrella with a handle that slopes backwards, so as to bring the umbrella over the head of the person in front. It probably could not be closed, but otherwise, it looks like an ordinary umbrella, and the ribs are represented distinctly
In Thomas Coryat's Crudities, published in 1611, about a century and a half prior to the general introduction of the umbrella into England, is a reference to a custom of riders in Italy using umbrellas:And many of them doe carry other fine things of a far greater price, that will cost at the least a duckat, which they commonly call in the Italian tongue umbrellas, that is, things which minister shadowve to them for shelter against the scorching heate of the sunne. These are made of leather, something answerable to the forme of a little cannopy, & hooped in the inside with divers little wooden hoopes that extend the umbrella in a pretty large compasse. They are used especially by horsemen, who carry them in their hands when they ride, fastening the end of the handle upon one of their thighs, and they impart so large a shadow unto them, that it keepeth the heate of the sunne from the upper parts of their bodies.
In Randle Cotgrave's Dictionary of the French and English Tongues (1614), the French Ombrelle is translatedAn umbrello; a (fashion of) round and broad fanne, wherewith the Indians (and from them our great ones) preserve themselves from the heat of a scorching sunne; and hence any little shadow, fanne, or thing, wherewith women hide their faces from the sunne.
In Fynes Moryson's Itinerary (1617) is a similar allusion to the habit of carrying umbrellas in hot countries "to auoide the beames of the Sunne". Their employment, says the author, is dangerous, "because they gather the heate into a pyramidall point, and thence cast it down perpendicularly upon the head, except they know how to carry them for auoyding that danger".During Streynsham Master's 1676 visit to the East India Company's factory in Masulipatnam he noted that only the governor of the town and the next three officials in seniority were allowed to have "a roundell [i.e. umbrella] carried over them."
The use of the parasol and umbrella in France and England was adopted, probably from China. At that period, pictorial representations of it are frequently found, some of which exhibit the peculiar broad and deep canopy belonging to the large parasol of the Chinese Government officials, borne by native attendants.
John Evelyn, in his Diary for 22 June 1664, mentions a collection of rarities shown to him by "Thompson", a Roman Catholic priest, sent by the Jesuits of Japan and China to France. Among the curiosities were "fans like those our ladies use, but much larger, and with long handles, strangely carved and filled with Chinese characters", which is evidently a description of the parasol.
The first lightweight folding umbrella in Europe was introduced in 1710 by a Paris merchant named Jean Marius, whose shop was located near the barrier of Saint-Honoré. It could be opened and closed in the same way as modern umbrellas and weighed less than one kilogram. Marius received from the King the exclusive right to produce folding umbrellas for five years.
Jonas Hanway, the founder of the Magdalen Hospital, has the credit of being the first man who ventured to dare public reproach and ridicule by carrying one habitually in London. As he died in 1786, and he is said to have carried an umbrella for thirty years, the date of its first use by him may be set down at about 1750. John Macdonald relates that in 1770, he used to be addressed as, "Frenchman, Frenchman! why don't you call a coach?" whenever he went out with his umbrella. By 1788 however they seem to have been accepted: a London newspaper advertises the sale of 'improved and pocket Umbrellas, on steel frames, with every other kind of common Umbrella.'
A French scientist named Navarre presented a new design to the French Academy of Sciences for an umbrella combined with a cane. Pressing a small button on the side of the cane opened the umbrella.
The inventory of the French royal court in 1763 mentioned "eleven parasols of taffeta in different colours" as well as "three parasols of waxed toile, decorated around the edges with lace of gold and silver".
Their use became widespread in Paris. In 1768, a Paris magazine reported:"The common usage for quite some time now is not to go out without an umbrella, and to have the inconvenience of carrying it under your arm for six months in order to use it perhaps six times. Those who do not want to be mistaken for vulgar people much prefer to take the risk of being soaked, rather than to be regarded as someone who goes on foot; an umbrella is a sure sign of someone who doesn't have his own carriage."
In 1769, the Maison Antoine, a store at the Magasin d'Italie on rue Saint-Denis, was the first to offer umbrellas for rent to those caught in downpours, and it became a common practice. The Lieutenant General of Police of Paris issued regulations for the rental umbrellas; they were made of oiled green silk, and carried a number so they could be found and reclaimed if someone walked off with one.
A parasol depicted in Morning Walk, by John Singer Sargent (1888) In Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe, Crusoe constructs his own umbrella in imitation of those that he had seen used in Brazil. "I covered it with skins", he says, "the hair outwards, so that it cast off the rain like a pent-house, and kept off the sun so effectually, that I could walk out in the hottest of the weather with greater advantage than I could before in the coolest." From this description the original heavy umbrella came to be called "Robinson" which they retained for many years in England.
The pocket (foldable) umbrella was invented in Uraiújfalu (Hungary) by the Balogh brothers, whose patent request was admitted in 1923 by the Royal Notary Public of Szombathely. Later on their patent was also approved in Austria, Germany, Belgium, France, Poland, Great Britain and the United States.
Hans Haupt's pocket umbrellas appeared. In Vienna, Slawa Horowitz, a student studying sculpture at the Akademie der Bildenden Kunste Wien (Academy of Fine Arts), developed a prototype for an improved compact foldable umbrella for which she received a patent on 19 September 1929.