The Umbrella

I chose to research the umbrella because it is a useful and reliable design tool choice that protects people from weather like the rain and sun. Umbrellas are easy to transport back and forth and can provide comfort for people traveling in perhaps rainy conditions.

History

To begin, the umbrella was invented in the 4th century B.C. in ancient China as a shade to protect the Chinese emperors and royals from the heat of the sun. Not only China, but umbrellas were also found in other countries like ancient Greece, Rome, the Middle East, and Egypt. Umbrellas were typically used to protect royals and women and their main function was to shade people from the sun. The rain umbrella did not come until later in the 18th century. The rain umbrella was mainly used by Italians, the French, and the British. At this time, umbrellas were usually made of silk because it helps keep the water off of the umbrella and the person. Also, umbrellas were still used mainly by women and not as much men because for some reason, people thought that it was not manly for a man to carry an umbrella. Finally, by the middle of the 18th century in 1750, a British man named Jonas Hanway began to carry the rain umbrella around with him everywhere in the streets of London, thus making it popular. Ever since, a rain umbrella became a necessity for people to use to protect themselves from the rain. Umbrellas were designed a bit differently than they are designed today. Back then, umbrellas were formed in a canopy shape and were often made from feathers, leather, and leaves. Today, the basic structure of the umbrella is still the same today but it consists of fiberglass, silk, and the simple canopy shape.

Function

The main function of an umbrella is to protect people from the heat of the sun, rain, or snow. Contrary to popular belief, umbrellas are actually used a lot more in the sun than the rain.

User

Any person can easily use an umbrella to protect themselves when in any weather condition. (Man, woman, child, adult, etc.)

Materials & Production

Today, the umbrella is made of fiberglass for the main structure, silk for the canopy portion, a metal shaft, and a rubber handle.

Affordance

Looking at the structure of an umbrella, you can easily figure out how to use it. The hill or gradient on the umbrella shows how much it will shade the person from the weather. The handle grip clearly shows where to hold the umbrella. Finally, the shaft of the umbrella shows how it extends the canopy of the umbrella protecting you from the rain, snow, or sun.

Resources

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