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U is for Umbrella

Do you own an umbrella? Most people do. You may have heard of umbrellas by other names. For example, parasol (primarily a sun shield), rainshade, (Irish) brolly, or my favorite—bumbershoot (as sung by Dick Van Dyke in the film Chitty Chitty Bang Bang).

I didn’t think that umbrellas had changed much over the years. They were used in Egypt some 3,000 years ago to offer shade from the sun. Umbrellas to protect from rain are thought to have been invented in ancient China.

Did you know that the first single-purpose umbrella shop, James Smith and Sons, opened in London’s New Oxford Street in 1830, and is still in business?

In the 1950s, nylon canopies, which do not rot, came into use as an umbrella covering; golf umbrellas were developed in the 1970s.

I didn't realize that people are indeed still researching umbrellas--sizes, shapes, materials, aerodynamics, and style.

As illustrated at the above site, people are still improving the standard umbrella design. (There are some really cute styles, but perhaps not available for sale yet.)

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