The History and Derivation of Umbrellas

The umbrella workshop prestigious client base

The word umbrella originates from the word ‘Umbra’ which means the shade cast by an opaque object. In 1609 there is a mention in the English Poet John Donne’s letters. He uses the term ‘ombrello’.  This was then altered with the influence of the word ‘Umbra’, from ‘Umbella’ to ‘Umbrella’: the word we recognise immediately today. 

The Umbrella began to be used in England around c.1700 as a shelter from the elements.
However Umbrella type sun shades had been used around the world in various forms for centuries. The Ancient Egyptians used a version of an Umbrella as did the Ancient Civilisations of China, Greece, Rome and the Aztecs.  In Africa and the Orient an umbrella was seen as a symbol of dignity- which is something the Umbrella Workshop agree with!

The first rain umbrella carried by a man was thought to be in 1760. Jonas Hathaway, a noted traveller and philanthropist and obviously a man of taste to be carrying an umbrella!

At The Umbrella Workshop we are proud of our Umbrellas and delighted to be creating a product with such an interesting heritage.

Promotional umbrellas from Georgian Bath.

Promotional umbrellas from Georgian Bath.

 

Umbrellas in the 18th Century

For a detailed account of the usage and documentation of umbrellas in 18th Century England, please see this great resource, from the Jane Austin Centre. just down the road from our Office.