The Brief History of Outdoor Umbrellas
The omnipresent outdoor umbrellas found in 21st century gardens may be architectural, but their origins take a detour through fashion and onto lifestyle. Just like outdoor spaces of yesteryear required comfortable amounts of shade, modern umbrellas protect you from the sun’s damaging ultraviolet rays. But now, instead of stretching leaves, leather, or cloth across tree boughs, Poggesi’s contemporary designs use durable Sunbrella® or Tempotest® fabric on powder-coated aluminum posts. And rather than forcing a cortege to move around your patio umbrella, there are lightweight, yet robust models to suit your every need. What a relief to be living in current times!
Umbrellas in China.Ancient China is thought to be the birthplace of the umbrella. (Although Egyptians may disagree and claim that accolade for their ancestors!) Not in dispute, though, is that the Chinese pioneered two firsts:
- Coating parasols (that provide shade coverage) so that they became waterproof umbrellas. The silk or paper panels, bamboo staff, or umbrella pole, and handle were treated with tongyou – plant oil from the tung tree.
- The original collapsible umbrella canopy. A Luoyang archeological dig found bronze castings of rudimentary mechanisms for opening and closing traditional umbrellas dating back to the Zhou dynasty in around 600 BC.