PARIS, 1705 Jean Marius, a purse maker by trade, created the modern portable umbrella. Marius’ umbrella design was fabric secured to a latticework of fragile, ugly, finger-catching ribs. Louis XIV awarded him a royal patent.
Does this umbrella sound familiar?
Even in the face of three centuries of unprecedented innovation in design, engineering and technology—three centuries of improvement of just about everything—every umbrella today is structurally the same. From the most expensive, bespoke stick umbrella to the smallest compact umbrella to the so-called reverse, or upside-down, umbrella. Every single one is made the exact same way: fabric secured to a latticework of fragile, ugly, finger-catchable ribs.
The first structurally new umbrella in 312 years. We thought it was about time. (Au revoir, Monsieur Marius.)