Shelter from the Storm

Shelter from the Storm

A Rainy Tale of the History of Umbrellas

Rainy days have always been a source of inconvenience and discomfort for people around the world. However, thanks to a simple yet ingenious invention, we have a portable and reliable solution to keep us dry—the umbrella. The history of umbrellas is a fascinating journey that takes us through centuries of innovation, from their early origins to the stylish and advanced designs of today.

Ancient Beginnings

The history of umbrellas can be traced back to ancient civilizations. The earliest umbrellas were not like the compact, foldable versions we are familiar with today. In fact, these early umbrellas were more for providing shade than protection from rain. The ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans used large parasols made from materials like palm leaves or feathers to shield themselves from the sun.

The ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans used large parasols made from materials like palm leaves or feathers to shield themselves from the sun.


One of the most significant developments in umbrella history occurred in ancient China, where they started using oiled paper umbrellas for protection from both rain and sun. These early umbrellas featured intricate designs and were crafted from a combination of bamboo and paper. This Chinese innovation quickly spread to neighboring countries, including Japan and Korea, where variations of the umbrella were adapted to suit local needs.

Medieval Europe: The Rain or Shine Accessory

In medieval Europe, umbrellas were not initially used for rain protection but rather as an accessory of luxury and status. The first recorded use of an umbrella for rain protection dates back to the 17th century when they began to appear in Europe. Initially, they were considered feminine and unpopular among men. These early umbrellas had a rigid and heavy structure, making them impractical for everyday use.

The Portable Folding Umbrella

The next significant development in the history of umbrellas came in the early 18th century when a Frenchman named Jean Marius invented the folding umbrella. This revolutionary design featured a collapsible frame, which made it far more practical and portable. This innovation laid the foundation for the compact and convenient umbrellas we use today. Marius' design soon gained popularity, and people started using umbrellas for protection from both rain and sun.

Victorian Era: The Umbrella Becomes Fashionable

During the Victorian era in the 19th century, umbrellas became an essential fashion accessory. They were crafted with intricate designs, featuring luxurious materials like silk, lace, and even precious metals. This was the time when the traditional black umbrella emerged as a symbol of sophistication and elegance. It was during this period that umbrellas became associated with gentlemen and ladies, and etiquette books even provided guidelines on how to carry an umbrella with grace and style.

Twentieth Century and Beyond:

The Modern Umbrella The 20th century brought remarkable advancements in umbrella technology. The traditional materials of silk and oiled paper gave way to more durable and water-resistant fabrics. The introduction of fiberglass and aluminum frames made umbrellas lighter, stronger, and more reliable. Today, you can find umbrellas with a wide range of features, from automatic open and close mechanisms to wind-resistant designs.

Modern umbrellas have also evolved in terms of style and design. They come in various shapes, sizes, and colors to cater to different tastes and preferences. From compact travel umbrellas that fit in your purse to golf umbrellas that offer ample coverage, there's an umbrella for every occasion.


The history of umbrellas is a testament to human innovation and adaptability. From their humble beginnings as sunshades in ancient civilizations to the elegant fashion accessories of the Victorian era and the practical rain shields we use today, umbrellas have come a long way. This versatile invention has provided shelter from the storm and made our lives more comfortable during inclement weather.

As we continue to embrace the latest advancements in umbrella technology and design, it's essential to appreciate the centuries of development that have led to the modern umbrella. Whether you're using it to stay dry on a rainy day or seeking shade from the scorching sun, the umbrella remains a symbol of practicality and style.

So, the next time you unfurl your umbrella, take a moment to reflect on the rich history and evolution of this everyday accessory. From the ancient parasols of Egypt to the high-tech umbrellas of the 21st century, the history of umbrellas is a fascinating journey through time, one that reminds us of the enduring importance of staying dry and stylish, come rain or shine. Citizen umbrellas are the most-modern, sturdy and stylish umbrellas that is made 100% in India, writing a new history for umbrellas. 
Back to blog