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5 Unusual Ways to Use an Umbrella

5 Unusual Ways to Use an Umbrella

We take umbrellas for granted as handy accessories that protect us from the rain (especially in the UK), but we rarely think about them when we aren’t hurriedly searching through a bag to find one, or kicking ourselves for forgetting one.

However, the humble umbrella has a very long and noble history. The word ‘umbrella’ comes from the Latin root ‘umbra’, which means shade or shadow, and there is evidence that they were in use more than 4,000 years ago in civilizations as far apart as China, Greece, Egypt, and Assyria. The Chinese were the first people to wax or lacquer paper umbrellas in order to use them in the rain, and they started to become popular in the western world during the 16th and 17th century, especially as protection from the damp climates of northern Europe with which we are still so familiar.

Umbrellas are fascinating objects that we tend to use and lose with careless abandon – more than 10,000 are mislaid each year on the London Underground alone.

At Umbrella Workshop, we think it’s high time we start thinking differently about umbrellas and how they can be a bigger part of our lives, rather than just an afterthought that we only think about when it starts to rain. Here then, are our 5 unusual ways to use an umbrella.

1. As a Sun Shade

The original use for an umbrella was as a sunshade, rather than as protection from wet weather. Ancient Egyptians constructed shades from feathers, palm fronds and stretched papyrus, which were attached to chariots or held over the heads of royalty by servants.

Noblewomen in ancient Greece had female slaves carry parasols to protect them from the hot Mediterranean sun, but also as fashion accessories too.

Using your umbrella as protection from the sun is an excellent idea, especially if you’re in an area that doesn’t offer shade from trees or buildings, such as at the beach or in open countryside. As well as stopping you from getting too hot, staying in the shade helps to prevent you getting sunburn, which isn’t only extremely uncomfortable but can lead to very serious conditions such as skin cancer.

Whilst a colorful umbrella might feel like a more summery choice, a black one is actually best as it absorbs the heat and keeps you cool beneath it.