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What does one look for in a fine umbrella?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
I seriously doubt that this particular accessory is one I'd ever spend any significant amount of money on, but I'm curious to learn about the various features that distinguish a 'fine' umbrella from one you might pick up for $50.
post #2 of 12
I cant tell you the exact things that make a higher quality umbrella cost more, but I can assure you there is a difference. I own 2 umbrellas, one from Paul Stuart, and the other from Gurka. Ive owned each for at least 7 years. No way in hell a pharmacy umbrella will last that long. Additionally, a really nice umbrella is a stylish accessory.
post #3 of 12
Here's an advertising blurb for Swaine Adeney Brigg that may be helpful. http://<a href="http://www.classiclu......30.html</a>
post #4 of 12
I really must endorse owning a good umbrella. In the long run, you'll save money, because like a good fountain pen, you won't lose it, and it will be durable. There's an excellent link to Brigg above, who makes wonderful umbrellas, using old-world craftsmanship, and often times modern materials. I like umbrellas that have a single solid shaft and handle, that is to say that the handle and shaft are one and the same. Look for a crisp opening and closing mechanism (preferably without gimmicks, and look to see if the grommets and parts are sturdy, and even if they have been camouflaged inside wherever possible. From a cosmetic standpoint, a nicely figured piece of maple, cherry, etc. is great, but be advised that beautiful swirly grain can weaken the stick. My favorite umbrella that I own is a Brigg, and the one I was most disappointed with was made by Burberry. The difference in price was a few yards, but the difference in quality was miles.
post #5 of 12
Thread Starter 
Thank you, gentlemen. Alas, I have returned to work, and will not have the luxury of spending as much time on this site as I have over the last week or so. But my thanks to all for the information you've provided in that short time. You're an interesting bunch.
post #6 of 12
I walked over to Brooks Brothers yesterday with the intent of purchasing one of their umbrellas that has a "carved dog head" at the end of the shaft. I was told that they no longer sell these, but as recently as 3-4 months back, they had them in stock and were selling them in the $85 range. I know nothing about the history of this style of umbrella, (or even the correct name) just that it seemed wonderfully pretentious. Does anyone know where these are sold? Also any insights into the background would be appreciated. For that matter, any commentary of any sort would be helpful.
post #7 of 12
If my memory serves me correctly, such umbrellas bear witness to the cane-making heritage of many good umbrella-makers -- Brigg and James Smith still sell canes. You will be able to get this sort of umbrella from Brigg on special order. It will cost the Earth, several hundred easily. www.classicluggage.com or www.ukstuff.com It may be cheaper from James Smith of London, but they only sell out of their shop.
post #8 of 12
I keep an over-sized umbrella with black silk cover in each car, and a screw-together version in my luggage. After years of losing umbrellas, I find that I don't misplace them if I'm keeping them in a regular home. Bought mine at Swaine Adeney Brigg more than ten years ago, and they've never given me any trouble. Will
post #9 of 12
sis gave me a swaine adeney brigg for graduation...it appears to be bulletproof. it's made the way one might imagine in a perfect world, but it's hardly very modern. if i ever harbor fantasies of being john steed, carrying that thing brings it out. and a lot of comments from those nearby, as well.
post #10 of 12
post #11 of 12
You will look better in a nice outfit and cheap umbrealla because it will create contrast. If you spend a fortune on an umbrella people will see you as frivolous.
post #12 of 12
A few years ago, my father gave me a Brigg from the London Harness Company, who engraved their logo right next to the Brigg Royal Warrant. On one particularly nasty day two years ago, the spring which holds the canopy open and locked failed. The umbrella went back to Brigg, who returned it in a month good as new. Quality service like that is always worth noting, and should I ever need to buy an umbrella in the future, I know where I'll go.
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