General Question

Ltryptophan's avatar

What did people do before umbrellas?

Asked by Ltryptophan (10243points) January 25th, 2011

How did people walk in the rain before umbrellas became common?

Were rain suits/leather/capes/animal hides the answer?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

19 Answers

Fyrius's avatar

Maybe they just weren’t such wussies about getting a little wet.
What’s the problem with getting rained on, anyway? It’s just a little bit unpleasant.

Ltryptophan's avatar

I looked at wikipedia. It seems like we’ve always had them at least to defend against the sun.

Fyrius's avatar

Always?

talljasperman's avatar

raincoats..palm leaves… and not going outside in the rain

tranquilsea's avatar

Large hoods on capes…hopefully made out of a semi-water proof material. And hats that would drain the rain to the back.

mrlaconic's avatar

Are you talking about ancient times?

While I am not sure what, I am sure they had something.. we are talking about people who some how were able to move giant blocks (2.5 tones each) to build pyramids.. I refuse to believe that they didn’t come up with something to help keep them dry.

lovespurple's avatar

What’s wrong with getting a little wet?

cheebdragon's avatar

I never use an umbrella…it’s really not a big deal.

YARNLADY's avatar

Big, wide brim hats.

incendiary_dan's avatar

Otzi the Iceman was found with a water repelling cloak make from layered plant fibers. Some sort of gear was present at least that far back.

Ladymia69's avatar

Ltryptophan ~ I like your name!

Jeruba's avatar

@Fyrius, I don’t think the problem is getting a little wet so much as the problem of having no dry clothes.

I was editing a book for a man from India and came to a section that went on about the threat of an oncoming rainstorm and how everyone dreaded being out in it, and I asked that same question (what’s the big problem?). He said that the problem was that it could take as much as three days for the garments to dry and that the people in the village probably had only one garment apiece.

Whether it’s a sari or dhoti and kurta or a woollen kilt, once it’s soaked, it’s soaked. I remember reading that the shortness of the small kilt, or philabeg, came about to keep its hem above the height of the highland grass so it wouldn’t get wet because it would take so long to dry. I don’t know if that’s just folklore or not, but 4 or 5 yards of water-saturated wool would be pretty cold and unpleasant to wear, not to mention pretty heavy.

gailcalled's avatar

My grandfather (the first Benjamin Finkel) and two other engineers invented this in 1894:

Self-opening umbrella

He went from rags to riches by running The Finkel Umbrella Frame Co. in the Bronx. There was no life befre the umbrella.

gailcalled's avatar

edit: before

WasCy's avatar

‘Before’ umbrellas?

Male US Army officers don’t use them. From the Army’s own uniform regulations:

UMBRELLA, BLACK (FEMALES MY CARRY AND USE AN UMBRELLA, ONLY DURING INCLEMENT WEATHER, WHEN WEARING THE DRESS BLUE ASU. UMBRELLAS ARE NOT AUTHORIZED IN FORMATIONS OR WHEN WEARING FIELD OR UTILITY UNIFORMS)

CrammaDoodle's avatar

TREES!

and newspapers.
Such great things, right?

Ltryptophan's avatar

I think an umbrella is a lot like a tent. Maybe that is why it seems like the ancients had them. I see lots of ways a eureka moment would be imminent for umbrella technology.

Fyrius's avatar

@Jeruba
That still hardly sounds life-threatening, though… just a bother.

voiceoreason's avatar

They used cloaks with hoods rubbed with wax. Truth.

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