My Vintage & Antique Parasol Collection
- May 24, 2021
- The Glambassador
I’ve already shared some of my brooch collection with you and some of my hat collection, so now I’d like to share my vintage and antique parasol collection. So when I sent out a teaser on Instagram, I got some questions about the difference between a parasol and an umbrella. And I realized through talking to some of my international followers that the words for umbrella or parasol are used interchangeably in some languages. I obviously speak English, but I also speak some French, Spanish, and German. Within those languages, there are different words for each one. So I thought I would just give a little bit of information, at least from an English-speaking side, on the difference between a parasol and an umbrella.
Parasols are designed to shade from the sun. They are typically made out of cloth material or even paper. So they are not water-resistant or waterproof.
And on the other hand, an umbrella is designed to protect you from the rain. They can be made from cloth, but it’s typically a waterproof or water-resistant material. Now with umbrellas, you can absolutely use them to shade you from the sun as well. They work both ways in that regard. They can shield you from the rain, and they can protect you from the sun. I do have a collection of vintage umbrellas, which I will share with you in another post.
I am NOT an expert
Now I’d like to start with reminding you guys that I am not an expert or a historian, for the most part, for all of my vintage collection. I don’t necessarily know the proper terminology for everything. I certainly don’t know, especially with parasol, the makers’ names, and for the most part, I don’t always know when they were made. There are some that I know are more modern than others. And for the most part, I’m just going off of what the seller told me it was. I would love to hear from you, if you are an expert or happen to know about a particular parasol, please leave a comment below. I’m more than happy to learn more about my collection.
As with all of my collections, whether it’s clothing, brooches, hats, gloves, everything for me has to be functional. I don’t collect things just to set them up on a shelf and have them look pretty. I want to use them. So the majority of my parasols are still functional. Many of them need some work to bring them back to their former glory, but they still function pretty well.
For me personally, there are three main functions that I use parasols for.
- Sun Protection
- Heat Protection
- “Paparazzi” Protection
Clearly, I am a very fair-skinned woman. I’m also an esthetician. So sun protection is essential to me. And that is my primary use for my parasols. But I’m also a very delicate flower and wilt in the heat. Yes. So as they keep the sun off me, they work as heat protection as well. The sun drains me, and I cannot handle too much of the sun directly on me for very long. I keep a parasol in each one of my cars for those days that we happen to go to a farmer’s market or if we’re going to be outdoors quite a bit, I will just grab my “everyday parasol,” and I’m good to go.
Now the third function is a little a strange one, but this happens quite a lot. It started to happen more when I lived in Germany, where people would try to take photographs of me, and they would, of course, try to do it as sly as possible. And a parasol is fantastic for stopping that from happening. My husband is the eagle eye, and he can always see when someone is trying to take a photograph of me, so he’ll say something or nudge me, and then I’ll just kind of move my parasol to cover my face.
Now with that said, I do not mind people asking me to take my photograph; better yet, take the picture with me. I think it’s bizarre that someone wants to take a random picture of somebody walking around. If they want a photo of me, let me pose nicely or be in the photo with me.
Parasols in History
Parasols have been used, for centuries. The ancient Egyptians would use them to shield themselves from the harsh desert sun. Parasols were often used in China and Southeast Asia, India, Greece, and Rome. Parasols came about before umbrellas, mainly because you don’t have much use for rain umbrellas in hot desert climates.
Here is a good article with a brief history of the parasol.