History of Women’s Umbrellas

Playing on the lawn while raining is fun for a child. The adults, however, are a different case. This is especially true when we get soaked while going to the office, malls, school, or theme parks.

The extreme heat from the sun is the same thing. Yes, the natural light triggers the normal production of vitamin D of our body. It protects us against inflammation, strengthens muscles, reduces the risk of hypertension, protects us against cancer, and even improve cognitive function.

Too much UV ray exposure, on the contrary, can result in short-term/long-term skin damage, heatstroke, dehydration, and hives. It can also trigger dizziness, throbbing headache, vomiting, muscle cramps, rapid heartbeat, confusion, and more.

But the risks are reduced with the use of women’s umbrellas. Designed to protect us from the rain, women’s umbrellas can prevent us from getting soaked. That’s not all! It can prevent sunburn wrinkles and other skin aging problems.

For the past years, women’s umbrellas have been gaining immense popularity. It’s no surprise as it provides a multitude of benefits. Apart from the sun and rain protection, umbrellas provide different features. It is transportable, lightweight, and affordable.

But did you know that women’s umbrellas have a rich history? Yes, you heard it right! Who invented umbrellas? Where does the term umbrella originate from? Good questions, and you have come to the right place! So, without further ado, let’s get started! Take a close look at the following!

If you have decided to buy a vintage umbrella, please check our article here.

A Brief History of Women’s Umbrellas

Umbrellas have been around for approximately 4,000 years ago and seen in ancient art and artifacts of China, Greece, Egypt, and Assyria. Originally, the ancient parasols were designed to provide shade from the sun. Years after, the Chinese developed waxed and lacquered umbrellas to withstand the rain.

Women’s Umbrella: Origins of the Term

The term umbrella comes from the word umbra, which means shadow or shade. Since the 16th century, women’s umbrella has become popular, especially in the western world or northern Europe.

Originally, umbrellas were deemed as an-accessory for women. But things have changed today. Jonas Hanway, a Persian traveler, and a writer, publicly used an umbrella in the beautiful country of England for more than 3 decades. From there, the use of an umbrella among men has been a accessory trend.

James Smith and Sons

In 1830, the first umbrella shop, James Smith and Sons was introduced into the market. After many decades, the company is still making history across the globe. Located at 53 New Oxford Street in London, England, James Smith and Sons remains the most sought-after shop because of their top-notch and quality products.

Today’s umbrellas are made of nylon and other types of fabrics to withstand the rain. The early European umbrellas, however, were made of whalebone or wood with oiled canvas or alpaca. The curved handles, on the contrary, consisted of hardwoods like ebony.

English Steels Company

Samuel Fox invented the first steel ribbed umbrella in 1852, and established an English Steels Company. He believed that his creation was a way of using up stocks of farthingale stays.

Another major technical innovation in the industry was the compact collapsible umbrella. Unlike the wooden and ribbed umbrella design, the compact collapsible were high-end, comfortable, and long-lasting.

Modern Times

After the invention of compact collapsible umbrellas, Hans Haupt developed a pocket version in 1928. She designed a prototype for a compact foldable umbrella when she was studying sculpture in Vienna. Called as Flirt, the improved version of the umbrella was finally made by an Austrian company.

In Germany, they also had their own version called Knirps, a synonym for small foldable umbrellas.

The owner of Totes Incorporated of Loveland Bradford E Philips obtained a patent for his folding umbrella. Women’s umbrellas have also been crafted into sturdy and stylish hats in 1880 and 1987. Aside from hats, golf umbrellas were also introduced. Having one of the largest sizes, golf umbrellas can range from 60 to 70 inches. But the recommended size is around 62 inches.

In 2008, women’s umbrellas were considered a consumer product with a gigantic global market. In the same year, research indicated that most umbrellas were made in China. Shangyu, alone, had approximately 1000 factories. The U.S., however, produced more than 33 million umbrellas.

Since 2008, the U.S. Patent Office registered over 3,000 active patents on invented umbrellas, and the number is expected to grow.

In 2011, eco-friendly women’s umbrella was a trend. Wayne Hemingway was the pioneer of sustainable umbrellas. What makes such products different from the competition is that they are stylish, which can boost one’s fashion statement. Equipped with 22.5% plant material, the models were also packed with recycled Coca-Cola bottles and other toxic-free components.

In 2016, women’s umbrellas became more high-end. The Wezzoo, for example, is a smart creation crafted to notify the users when it rains. It then connects to smartphones and other devices via Bluetooth. The notifications are also real-time, protecting everyone from hassles.

In 2018, the first drone umbrella was introduced into the market. Developed in Japan, the gadget can position itself to fly above a person’s head. The technology can help keep users safe from showers, rain, and other extreme weather conditions.


The history of women’s umbrellas is indeed evolving. Thanks to people’s curiosity as we can now enjoy the comfort and protection of long-lasting and sturdy umbrellas. They come in different colors, sizes, and designs that suit people’s expectations or needs. They are also made with a variety of materials to prolong their longevity and make them easier to use. Aside from protection from the rain, women’s umbrellas can give your fashion a statement, and other possibilities might happen in the future. Let’s just hope for the industry to continue to flourish, inspire other people, and make a difference.

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