A brief history

The history of the sunshade or parasol dates back thousands of years to China, Egypt and Assyria – now parts of present-day northern Iraq, south-eastern Turkey, north-western Iran and north-eastern Syria. The aim was to protect people from the sun and heat. The materials used were the natural resources that could be found locally including eucalyptus, palm branches and leaves.

Parasols in Europe

It wasn’t until the 16th century, during the Italian Renaissance that the parasol, or umbrella, came to Europe. The parasols were generally carried by a servant to protect the wealthy from the heat. The umbrella did not have a huge presence in Britain until the eighteenth century with the traveller Jonas Hanway credited for introducing the umbrella to London on a visit.

The earliest English umbrellas were made of oiled silk and were deemed difficult to open. The ribs of the umbrella were made of whalebone which lost its elasticity when it became wet and umbrellas of that time were also recorded as heavy and inconvenient pieces of kit.

In the middle of the nineteenth century, the whalebone for the ribs was replaced with steel and the umbrella industry in Britain began to thrive.

Umbrella and parasols as promotional products

Umbrellas have had creative patterns adorned on them for centuries for fashion purposes and religious ceremonies. The use of umbrellas for promotion was noted to have begun in France around the 1960’s when an alcohol brand had the idea of printing their logo on sun umbrellas to inspire tourists to sample their products. Many other businesses soon cottoned on to the idea that promoting your business on an umbrella was attracting new customers and took up this way of marketing their products.

People living in the capital, London accepted that rainy weather is much more common than warmer, sunny weather so larger, golf umbrellas began to appear in the City, with subtle logos attached. The trend advanced and, by the 1980’s financial flourish, the promotional golf umbrella was resolutely established as a big-seller in the fast growing promotional merchandise industry.

At bmt Promotions, we have a range of high quality golf, telescopic and walking umbrellas as well as advertising parasols for public houses and events. We can add your business logo to the umbrellas via screen printing or dye-sublimation printing and we can also Pant one match your companies custom colours.

For your branded umbrellas and other merchandise, get in touch at hello@bmtpromotions.co.uk

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