According to a Chinese legend, the umbrella was invented by Lu Mei, a young woman who kept asking her brother to help her build something to protect her from the rain, and who ended creating it by herself.
One night, Lu Mei built a cane on which she hanged 32 bamboo sticks and then covered them whit a silk fabric.
It is said that the umbrella already existed in China in the eleventh century BC. The first waterproof umbrellas were also invented in China: they were created by waxing and lacquering paper umbrellas. The earliest reference to a folding umbrella is from 21 AD, in Ancient China.
There is evidence of the use of different items that shielded rulers from the sun or rain in different ancient cultures.
Sculptures from Nineveh confirm the existence of the umbrella in the Middle East. In Persia, the umbrella is an item commonly found in the sculptures from Persepolis. In Ancient Egypt, the umbrella can be found in various forms: palm leaves or colorful feathers attached to a long handle. In Greek culture, besides the fact that the umbrella was an accessory of the upper class women, it was also used in religious rituals held in honor of Dionysus (the god of wine and vine). Also, the priestesses of Athena (goddess of wisdom in Greek mythology), during the festivities, they covered their heads with umbrellas mostly made out of leather.
Several thousand years later, in the eighteenth century, the umbrella was reinvented by the Italians, who called them “umbrellaces”. They were made of leather, shaped like a canopy and used by the upper-class society to protect themselves from the sun.
The umbrella made with metal spokes was invented in the mid-nineteenth century. Samuel Fox, its creator, explains that the idea came to him when he was searching for a solution to use the surplus storage of strands used for corsets worn by women.
At the beginning, umbrellas did not have the shape they have today, but looked more like a much larger hand fan supported by a long handle. The modern look was adopted using the shape that tents used to have for various celebrations in ancient times.