National Umbrella Day casts a little shade on February 10th. The day honors one of the world’s most useful inventions, the umbrella!

Not only does the umbrella help keep us dry from the rain, but it also protects us from the heat of the sun. Umbrellas can also be used as a fashion accessory. While the umbrella is primarily practical, they also decorate cocktails. These brightly colored paper umbrellas make for fun party favors especially when visiting sunny locations.

Umbrellas have also found their way into the art world. Their color and shape make sharp silhouettes. They also serve as the canvas for art. In movies, umbrellas play a role, too. For example, they played vital parts in both Singing in the Rain in 1952 and in Mary Poppins in 1964. 

Interesting Umbrella TidBits:

The word umbrella comes from the Latin word umbra, meaning shade or shadow.  Brolly is a slang word for umbrella, often used in Britain, New Zealand, Australia, and South Africa.  Bumbershoot is a fanciful Americanism for an umbrella from the late 19th century.

The basic umbrella was invented over four thousand years ago. There is evidence of umbrellas in the ancient art and artifacts of Egypt  Assyria, Greece and China.

We can credit the Chinese for being the first to protect us from the rain. Their paper parasols received a layer of wax followed by lacquer that made the umbrella withstand the elements. 

One of the first umbrella shops in existence opened in 1830 at 53 New Oxford Street in London, England. The shop, operated by James Smith and Sons, still operates regular hours at the same location today. 

In 1928, Hans Haupt’s pocket umbrellas appeared. In 1969, Bradford E. Phillips, the owner of Totes Incorporated of Loveland, Ohio, obtained a patent for the first “working folding umbrella.”

Umbrellas have also been fashioned into hats as early as 1880 and as recently as 1987.

Photographers use umbrellas with a reflective inside as a diffusion device when employing artificial lighting and as a glare shield and shade, most often in portrait situations.

HOW TO OBSERVE #NationalUmbrellaDay

Spring is sending rain this way. Be sure your umbrella is handy. Strike a pose with your favorite person under an umbrella and go splashing in puddles. Twirl a paper umbrella. Watch a movie with a scene famous for its umbrella scenes. Make sure you name them and use #NationalUmbrellaDay to post on social media.


While the origins of the utilitarian holiday remain a mystery, it’s been celebrated since at least 2004. However, another celebration on the calendar promotes opening umbrellas indoors. The entire month of March recognizes the umbrella, too!

There are over 1,500 national days. Don’t miss a single one. Celebrate Every Day® with National Day Calendar®!

February 10th Celebrated (and Not So Celebrated) History


Queen Victoria if England marries her German cousin, Prince Albert.


New York Times owner Adolph S. Ochs moves the phrase “All The News That’s Fit To Print” from the editorial page to the front page making it the paper’s slogan. The phrase first appeared in the paper on October 25, 1896.


In an attempt to save its floundering business, the Postal Telegraph-Cable Company delivered what is considered the first singing telegram.


President Franklin D. Roosevelt posthumously awarded the first Medal of Honor of World War II to Second Lt. Alexander Ramsey Nininger Jr. The medal was presented to his father, Alexander R. Nininger by Major General Walter H. Frank during a ceremony at Third Air Force Headquarters in Tampa, Florida.


The Niagara Falls hydroelectric project opens.


IBM’s Deep Blue computer defeats World Champion Garry Kasparov at chess in 34 moves in Philadelphia, PA. It is the first time a computer ever beat a human at a formal game of chess.

February 10th Celebrated (and Not So Celebrated) History

Joseph Charles Price – 1854

In 1888, Joseph C. Price founded Livingstone College in Salisbury, North Carolina, and served as the school’s first president.

Edith Clarke – 1883

As the world’s first woman to be employed professionally as an engineer, Clarke’s accomplishments added up. She developed a graph calculator using a mathematical technique to calculate the long distances of transmission lines. Clarke was the first woman to submit a paper to the American Institute of Electrical Engineers (AIEE). While she spent much of her career with General Electric, Clarke would also become a champion of women’s education.

Jimmy Durante – 1893

The American comedian, singer, actor, and performer is probably best known for his performance in the comedy It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World. His signature style left an indelible mark on cinema and comedy.

James West – 1931

The prolific American inventor is best known for his invention of the foil electret microphone.

Honorable Mention

Lon Chaney Jr. – 1906
Grace Townes – 1907
Mark Spitz – 1950
Roberta Flack – 1939