The invention of umbrellas is more than 3,000 years old, but through this time manufacturers have become more technologically advanced and able to create umbrellas to be more sophisticated. They were able to access various new materials over time, adding additional durability to the main structure and canopy, detailed parts are used allowing for the open/close mechanism. Meanwhile, other advancements have resulted in the umbrella industry as it’s known today. However, the original umbrella designs used by ancient romans remain popular, and mostly unchanged while more modernized designs utilize lightweight, but durable materials to ensure the user is protected from the sun, wind, rain, or other weather conditions.
Umbrellas are commonly used for protecting against certain types of weather conditions. This can be the sun when spending a day on the beach, or the rain when traveling in nasty conditions. Additionally, parasols have similar uses, and both are created with various models for both mobile and stationary use, while it is more common for parasols to be designed for the latter. Furthermore, umbrellas are typically manufactured through hand-assembled process using many different parts to create the desired model, which even in the most basic models have to be simple and effective, durable and lightweight.
The following are the basic sections of any umbrella.
Over time, the materials and fabric used for the umbrella canopy has greatly changed. Originally, materials such as cotton, linen, taffeta silks and leather were used. Eventually those were replaced with Gloria, which is a blend of silk and cotton, or wool. The next phase was acetate and rylon. However, modernized umbrella designs use nylon taffeta (microfiber) which have water repellant coatings applied.
Due to the open/close movements, canopy’s must be constructed in sections, rather than an entire piece of material. Therefore, machines are used for cutting the required sections, typically eight to be uniform fitting to ensure a clean and smooth fold, while having a great appearance when unfolded. They are then stitched to the structure, referred to as the ribs.
Stretchers and Ribs
This part of an umbrella holds canopy’s, so they remain attached to the structure, while providing the user an open and close ability. Generally, they will be constructed using steel or alternative metals, while plastic connectors are often used for connecting the stretcher, also known as a runner.
For umbrellas that open and close, the runner is the mechanism that controls the canopy’s position.
The shaft is the center of an umbrella, commonly designed using aluminum, wood, plastic or fiberglass. With folding umbrellas, the shaft is typically manufactured to be moveable, and some are extendable to increase the umbrella’s overall height.