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The Tool Kit Journal

The secret anatomy of an umbrella

by Franck Jehanne

We love umbrellas!  We love them so much that we decided to create our very own bespoke collection for Heating & Plumbing London. 

Umbrellas have been around since about 2000 BC, originating most likely from China, where they were a mark of rank and power.  They played a similar role in countries such as India and Japan.  Initially they might have been used to block harsh sunlight, and following on from that, their use evolved to gaining protection from rain and snow.

We worked with one of the oldest umbrella makers in the UK to create a collection that reflects our obsession with design details, material authenticity and cool colours.  During the production process, we learned a lot about what makes a great hand made umbrella, and we want to share our curious journey with you, and want to take you through the anatomy of our hand made umbrellas.

These beautiful and seemingly simple objects were a complete revelation to us when we started to really look at how our umbrellas were going to be made and all the decisions we needed to take to create them.

We are delighted to say that our collection of umbrellas is hand made in London. The major parts of the umbrella all have unique provenance and everything comes together in the final assembly process in London:


This is the crowning glory.  It gives the umbrella the slick design and the final desired length.  It also allows you to use it as a walking stick without causing any damage to the wooden shaft, as it absorbs the shock.


This helps open and close the umbrella.  The canopy panels are hand stitched to the ribbed frame at specific folding joints so that the canopy open and closes smoothly.


The sprints allow the umbrella to open and close.  There are two springs, one at the top, which allows the umbrella to stay open and one at the bottom, which helps it stay shut. 


This slides up and down along the shaft of the umbrellas allowing the canopy to go up and down the shaft smoothly and to collapse it so it can be closed.

Tip cup:

When the umbrella is folded closed, the rib ends sit within this cup, providing support for the frame as well as ensuring that the ends do not catch on your clothes or anywhere else.

Curved handle:

We absolutely love our traditional crook handles. Our leather handles are made in Italy and the wooden maple is from North America.  It’s bent, scorched and lacquered in Italy.  We decided to go for the curved shape, as they are very handy for hanging your umbrellas on your arm or on a coat hook when not using them.

Central shaft: 

Our collection is available in two types, with either a metal shaft or a wooden shaft.  The quality of the central structure is crucial to the sturdiness’ of the overall umbrella.  The wooden shaft is hand made in Cheshire using FSC beech wood, and then hand stained in Kent.  The shaft has a groove, which holds the opening and closing mechanism.   This spring mechanism is installed by hand in our umbrellas and is crucial in ensuring that the umbrellas remains open in top position.

Fabric panels:

Each panel is hand cut and stitched to create the canopy.  The fabric is sourced from Japan.  The high quality polyester fabric is sun resistant and won’t fade, and will also keep you dry!

Inner cap:

Our collection has contrasting inner caps.  These, besides adding a hint of colour also help strengthen the central core of the panels.

Tip caps: 

Attaching the tips to the end of the ribs is to ensure that the canopy fabric stays attached to the frame inside.  Our tip caps are gunmetal.


The splash of colourful tie holds the umbrella shut until you are ready to unfurl it.

So this is what goes into making our unique umbrellas.  Combined with meticulous attention to detail results in an umbrella this is a beautiful, hand made object which will also keep you dry and looking stylish at the same time!

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About the Author

Franck Jehanne is the co-founder of British lifestyle brand, Heating & Plumbing London. After 10 years working for Cartier and other luxury brands from the Richemont group, he started his entrepreneurial journey in 2011, leading to the creation of the brand in 2017.

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