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Umbrellas: J. Smith v. Fox

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
Hello,

I am in the market for a quality umbrella. I would like the opinion of my fellow members on the merits of James Smith v. Fox.

In particular, I am considering a solid stick from James Smith or a travel umbrella from Fox. I realise they are two different types but any feedback is appreciated.
post #2 of 18
I don't have a Fox and never have. But I had a stick umbrella from Brigg that broke. It was more than 15 years old, but still. I replaced it with a Smith stick which cost significantly less than a new Brigg, but seemed every bit as good. Highly recommended.
post #3 of 18
I have a Fox, and I will not buy another. The wooden tip came unglued and disappeared, and Fox was markedly unhelpful. All I needed was a replacement tip, yet Fox was adamant they could not help me unless I sent the umbrella to them in England for evaluation. Of course, me being in the U.S., that would involve overseas shipping, and they wanted $75 just to send the umbrella back, not including the cost of the repair or the part itself. So I'd be out $100 before we had even determined if the umbrella could be fixed. I asked if they couldn't just look at a picture, to make sure it would be worth sending over, but they wouldn't even consider it. And they couldn't venture to estimate how much the repair itself would be, though I'd guess I'm not the first customer to have this happen. Ultimately, I called Gilbert Center in NYC. Spoke to him by phone, he knew exactly what I needed, and mailed me the part. Took him a good while to do it, but the umbrella is now fixed, and my total cost was about $25. Really highlighted the poor customer service on Fox's part.
post #4 of 18
Love my Brigg travel umbrella. Less than $100,sturdy canopy and fits in the zippered compartment of my briefcase.
post #5 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by aportnoy View Post
Love my Brigg travel umbrella. Less than $100,sturdy canopy and fits in the zippered compartment of my briefcase.

You don't find that the two parts of it come apart easily and that it might be losing its waterproofness?
post #6 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by RJman View Post
You don't find that the two parts of it come apart easily and that it might be losing its waterproofness?

It's new, so I can't say for sure. Though, you're making me twitch.
post #7 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by aportnoy View Post
It's new, so I can't say for sure. Though, you're making me twitch.

Where did you get it? Hammacher Schlemmer cleared out its supply a few years ago for $40 each, half the price Classic Luggage sells them for. Brigg sheepishly comments that it gets a lot of complaints about these.

I will say that it's not likely to blow inside out. And one of the classic umbrella shops in Freedom told me they can re-waterproof the canopy.

Cable Car sells a more substantial collapsing Brigg umbrella. It was much more expensive though.

Their full-length umbrellas are excellent, however. And when Paul Vanoli worked for Brigg, the customer service was excellent. At the same time, Smith is cheaper and I've only heard good things about Smith. I think that you can only buy Smith directly from the Smith shop.

Don't confuse Fox umbrellas with the Fox frame. There's no special connection between them.
post #8 of 18
My Brigg, so far, has been a delight, but I probably would have gone with Smith had there been an easy way to get one when I was looking.
post #9 of 18
Which one do you have?
post #10 of 18
It's a stick through with a chestnut bark handle.
post #11 of 18
What are the top makers for handmade umbrellas in France? Are there any distinguising marks that would help identify the makers?
post #12 of 18
Fayet is one maker. Not, frankly, as good as Brigg or Smith. However, they still make sword umbrellas. I believe they may also make the infamous Canne de toulouse-lautrec flask cane.

Le Veritable Cherbourg is another maker -- named for the movie. Very nice umbrellas.

Alexandra Sojfer/Madeleine Gely is gorgeous little umbrella shop run by a very hot woman. I think she designs and makes her own.

No idea what the distinguishing marks would be.
post #13 of 18
Asking per this umbrella, "handmade in France":

http://www.duncanquinn.com/item.php?itemid=1265
post #14 of 18
So far I am extremely happy with my stick Brigg, which I bought from Sterling and Burke (www.classicluggage.com). If I was in London, I'd probably go with Smith. They have a nice range in the shop, and the cost is lower. But here, S&B has a good price. I've been toying with getting my wife the small travel umbrella.
post #15 of 18
I had a Brigg for a few days and it was superbly constructed.
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