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Bumbershoots, Brollies and Umbrellas

It’s been raining a lot here in Southwest Missouri and I think it’s a perfect time to address the history of the Bumbershoot. Bumbershoot you say? Do tell. Okay, I will! Bumbershoot is a dorky American name from the late nineteenth century given to the already aptly named “Umbrella.” The word umbrella comes from the Latin word umbra, meaning shade or shadow (the Latin word, in turn, derives from the Ancient Greek ómbros [όμβρος].) In Britain, New Zealand, Australia and South Africa you will often hear the slang “Brolly” which means “Umbrella.” So please don’t slap a foreigner if they ask you to stand under their “Brolly,” they just want you to stay dry. The umbrella has also been called a “Parasol.” Though a parasol is traditionally considered a sun blocker, as opposed to a rain blocker. Whatever you decide to call it just please please make sure your children understand that it is not a parachute. Specifically for jumping off the garage roof, because NO ONE TOLD ME and I still have a weak ankle.

Where did it all start? Ask an ancient Greek of course. Oh those ancient Greeks; always inventing things andI has umbrella accident philosophizing about life’s meaning and deriving prime numbers etc. The parasol became an integral part of Greek women’s fashion in the late 5th century BC. The parasol would later be adopted by Roman culture, along with many other Greek styles of fashion, but only for women because gender stereotypes were all the rage. The use of umbrellas and parasols by our ancestors was extensive. Umbrellas can be traced back to ancient China, Egypt, India, all over the Middle-East. There was even an umbrella carried by Aztec generals made of feathers and gold which was also viewed as a tribal flag. And did you know that the umbrella is also considered a weapon? That’s correct! You can eviscerate an attacker with an umbrella. And after I finish writing this I’m going to go work on my Shaolin duel-wield umbrella technique.

But where did the modern folding version of the umbrella come from? The praise for the modern umbrella goes to Bradford E Phillips, the owner of Totes Incorporated of Loveland, Ohio. Phillips obtained a patent for the first working folding umbrella in 1969. Most of those umbrellas are manufactured in China, mostly in the Guangdong, Fujian and Zhejiang provinces. The city of Shangyu alone has more than a thousand umbrella factories. In the US alone, about 33 million umbrellas, worth $348 million, are sold each year.

Guess what? EDC sells umbrellas, and you can get your logo on them. Just look at all of the umbrellas here! So many styles and colors! See one you like? Call Rick at 1-800-445-2946 to place your order. Stay dry and thanks for reading!