I think it’s a safe bet to say that there is at least one umbrella in every home and office in New Zealand. And I think it’s probably fair to say everyone reading this has lost at least one umbrella in their lifetime. But they’re truly a design classic, and they have a special place in the heart of us Kiwis. After all, if you deal with as much rain as we do, you’re going to use your fair share of brollies.

history of promotional umbrellas

The History of Custom Umbrellas

Umbrellas have been around for thousands of years. China, ancient Egypt, ancient Greece and the Roman Empire can all lay claim to creating the umbrella, and we can’t really know for sure when or where they were first used. We know that their earliest use was as likely to have been as a parasol for keeping the sun off as it was for keeping the rain away.

It was the Industrial Revolution in the United Kingdom that propelled the umbrella into the mainstream though. Until then, they had been mostly been an accessory for women from the upper classes in France and England, but the new urban workforces of the late 17th and early 18th centuries changed that. The first dedicated umbrella shop – James Smith and Sons – opened in London in 1830, and is still going today, while Samuel Fox invented the first steel-ribbed umbrella in 1852.

The Umbrella As Promotional Merchandise

Identifying the first use of umbrellas as promotional merchandise is just as troublesome, but the invention of the larger custom golf umbrellas in the 1970s really accelerated the trend. The larger umbrellas – over 60 inches in size – are perfect for displaying company logos and getting seen by lots of people, whether on the golf course or just out and about.

National Umbrella Day

Did you know February 10 is National Umbrella Day? Why not time a promotional event of your own with some promotional umbrella merchandise for the next National Umbrella Day?