The history of folding umbrellas
is a long and complicated one. They have been used for more than 3,000 years, from the Chinese and Egyptian civilizations to modern day.
Umbrellas were originally designed to protect against the sun and rain, but have also gained other symbolic, aesthetic, or ritual purposes in many cultures. In Egypt, for example, they are used to signal power and affluence. They are a common accessory in royal households, while in China, they are worn by the wealthy and powerful to signify their status.
Eventually, the umbrella evolved into an accessory that was useful for everyone. This came about in the 18th century, when a Persian explorer named Jonas Hanway started carrying an umbrella around on his travels. He made a point of bringing it everywhere he went, and by the late 18th century, English society was gradually accepting the umbrella as an everyday accessory.
In the 19th century, Samuel Fox invented the steel-ribbed umbrella, which further reduced the weight of the umbrella while also strengthening its frame. This new material made the umbrella more durable and safer to use, which contributed to its increased popularity.
A few years later, in 1928, Hans Haupt invented a folding pocket umbrella, which he called “knirps” (meaning “tot”). This was probably the first telescopic umbrella and it became famous for its small size and ease of collapse.
In the 20th century, more and more people were starting to appreciate the umbrella, and it started to become a fashion accessory again. This was mostly because they started to become more affordable and could be used by men and women of all different ages and sizes. This was partly because of their improved size, but it was also due to them being much lighter than the original umbrellas.