The word umbrella is derived from the Latin word Umbra which means shadow. Originally it was designed with a purpose to give shed from the sun, however over time, it became a necessity during the rainy season. Umbrellas carry a long history they have been popularly used for thousands of years. . There is plenty of evidence of umbrellas and parasols used in ancient times across the world. The sun-umbrella was used by wealthy Greek and Roman women about 2,000 years ago. However, the umbrellas today are carefully designed by using top quality material to offer optimum protection.
How is an umbrella made?
Various types of metal parts, wood and plastic are used to make an umbrella. All these parts work together for the umbrella to work properly. different parts in the umbrella are canopy, ribs, shaft, runner, springs, stretchers, and handle.
Modern umbrellas are made by a hand, and different parts are assembled to make the umbrella. The wood, metal, or fiberglass shaft is taken along with the ribs and stretchers to assemble. Later a canopy the dome-shaped fabric is stretched over the framework and hand-sewn. Today, modern technology is used to create well rounded and stronger metal ribs and stretchers. Nylon is the most commonly used fabric as it is durable and can withstand heavy rains.
All umbrellas and parasols carry similar main components, but the choice of materials can vary. Thus, what differentiates a low-quality umbrella from the top quality one is the choice of materials used. A high-quality umbrella means you will enjoy a much better umbrella with higher longevity. Typically, the umbrellas carry eight sections.
How Does an Umbrella Work?
When you use an umbrella, every part of the umbrella comes in action. When one moves the stretchers up to open the umbrella and push against the ribs, the force that is crated extends the canopy, and a locking mechanism holds the open umbrella in place and keeps it open. When closing the umbrella, there is a press function that sets the locking mechanism free.
Different types on umbrellas
Umbrellas vary in shape and size, and colors. However, even if they differ, the working mechanism behind it is the same. Today, you can pick a style or kind for an umbrella based on your preferences. The two main kinds of umbrellas you come across in the market are the classic type and the foldable. These two styles have never gone out of fashion and remain a popular choice among customers.
• The classic umbrella
The classic umbrella can be recognized by their long shaft and different parts attached to the perpendicular body of the umbrella. The length of the shaft matters here as it should be balanced according to your height so that you can carry the umbrella easily.
• The foldable umbrella
The foldable umbrella is smaller in companion but is packed with performance. It is easy to close the umbrella, fold it, and tuck it away in your purse. The well-made model is easy to open, close, and fold automatically and with a simple push of a button. Just like a classic umbrella, a foldable has a hook handle, but more often it has a straight, sturdy handle that contains the button part for opening/closing mechanism.
Slawa Horowitz, an art student, was the one who invented the folding umbrella. Later she was forced to sell her rights to the umbrella.
What materials are used to make an umbrella?
The different parts of the umbrella are made different materials. The choice of material depends on the goals of providing higher comfort and functionality to the user and add longevity to the products.
• The fabric of the canopy is available in different colors and patterns. It is usually made of high-density nylon materials. Some other materials used for making the canopy include cotton, leather, silk, and waxed paper.
• The end tips of the umbrella play an important role as they secure the ribs and keep the canopy tightly firm and extended over them. Plastic or wood is used to make the end tips of the umbrella.
• The construction of the ribs and stretchers plays a key role in keeping the different parts of the umbrella together and in shape. Ribs are thin, flexible wires that run along the underside of the canopy. They create the arc shape of the umbrella. The u-shaped wire used in the modern design of the ribs is made of different types of metals and fiberglass. The stretchers are usually made of the same material as ribs. The stretchers are the thick, hinged arms connecting the ribs to the runner.
• The runner can help in adjusting the umbrella’s height. They are plastic or metal ring that slides up and down the shaft . Without the springs umbrella wouldn’t stay open they help lock the canopy in place.
• The shaft is the vertical pole that connects between the handle and the top tip of the umbrella. Different materials like plastic, steel, fiberglass, aluminum, and wood are sued to make the shaft.
• The handle is important and designed to offer a comfortable and firm grip when you carry the umbrella or open it. There are two styles, the hook and the straight. The hook handles are traditional, while the straight handles are more modern in style. The handles are usually made of wood, plastic, and metals.
What are the different shapes of umbrellas?
The umbrellas carry two shapes based on the canopy design, and these are the round shape and the bubble shape. The traditional umbrellas carry a round shape, and this is the most common canopy shape available. The bubble-shaped canopy has a deeper dome and covers your head, neck, and even shoulders. The dome of the round shape is relatively shallow when compared to the bubble-shaped canopy.
Umbrellas carry an important place in our lives, and almost every home and household have at least one umbrella to keep them safe from downpours or to avoid hot rays of the sun. After all, the weather can take an uncertain turn anytime. Many people prefer to carry one in their bag or purse, especially if they live in areas where one sees lots of unexpected rains. Moreover, as there are a variety of colors and styles available in umbrellas, one can surely find one that meets their needs and personality!
You might not give a second thought or glance to that humble umbrella in your home. But think again as the umbrella is indeed an ingenious invention and has kept you covered over all those years.