Saturday, 1 January 2022


Though parasols and various shades (umbra in Latin) to repel the elements have existed since Antiquity, one this day in 1710, a shopkeeper called Jean Marius who ran a little boutique in Saint-Honorรฉ was granted a royal patent to exclusively produced the folding umbrellas of his design for a period of five years—which open and close in essentially the same fashion as modern ones. Light-weight and instantly the must-have accessory among the sophisticated classes, prompting one Parisian magazine writer to observe in 1768 the reversal of the trend, noting it was a calculated risk to forego carrying about an umbrella for half-a-year to use it perhaps half-a-dozen times and take the risk of being caught in a rain shower rather than being taken for a common pedestrian as “an umbrella is a sure sign of someone who does not have his own carriage.”