Sunday, February 10, 2008

Searching for a Better Brella

There have been more expletives uttered (screamed) over failed umbrellas than over most any other accessory we carry. They have this way of flipping inside out at the most inopportune moment, hopelessly bent out of shape and condemned to the next dumpster. You would think there would have been design improvements for something that had been around since 1000 B.C.

I read with amusement and curiosity the current New Yorker article about a new umbrella “invented” by Steve Hollinger, a Boston artist who sounds much like my deceased Father. I became enthused when I realized Hollinger’s Bella Brella, or whatever name he settles on, would deal with trapped wind, rain dripping on your feet, and the danger to passersby.

The article really did conjure up pictures of my Father, whose only patented inventions were “classified” because they dealt with minesweeping. But he was always dreaming of a better way to do everything. He even got into the health field when he wrote the National Cancer Institute and suggested that breast cancer could be caused by brassieres that are too tight. In his later years, his mind worked overtime on how to use things discarded by others. This included the styrofoam tray from his $.99 TV dinner, which he refused to throw away, and of course EVERY plastic wrapper that once contained a newspaper.

But back to Steve Hollinger’s umbrella. It would take the shape of a large bike helmet. It would have an escape valve for wind pressure, maybe in the form of a wind-sock. It would channel all of the run-off water to the tail where it would then be released. It would really look sleek, having a different color on the inside, maybe one to brighten up the day, like yellow.

This new umbrella has long since left the drawing board. It has already been “Made in China.” The patent is still pending, but I am ready to pay up front for one of the first Bella Brellas to roll off the production line. How about you?


Blogger Ruth D~ said...

Funny! Your umbrella angst, and your father the inventor. My father "invented" too, mostly ways to thwart squirrels from the bird feeders.

2:11 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

RuthD -- I think my Father too went through a period of trying to foil the squirrels, but he would never have done anything to hurt any animal.

5:49 PM  
Blogger Kristin said...

Umbrellas. I'd say they are the bane of my existence but that might be stretching it (if only a little). I don't use them much and when I do, they regularly fail. I'd love to find one that doesn't flip or break.

9:37 PM  
Anonymous chrisf said...

I too was fascinated by the New Yorker article and the new Bella Brella design - "Umbrella" was hit song at the Grammy's too. Something must be in the air. Let me know if you know where to get one.

1:55 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Kristin -- I think this may be your answer, if and when it becomes available for purchase.

ChrisF -- I haven't turned up any sources for the Holliger umbrella. And in fact "Bella Brella" seems to be taken by a store in the UK that sells outdoor furniture. However, here is some news on the patent application.

2:33 PM  
Blogger Mother of Invention said...

I love umbrellas! I had a green madras one at 5 and I have a clear one now which i love. The idea sounds great and it makes sense to have a bright colour underneath.....except for my clear one! I watch the drops and lightning!

3:42 PM  
Blogger Richard said...

I just buy a cheap umbrella for a dollar (they seem to last as long as umbrella costing more) and avoid going out when it is rainy AND windy.

There is little point in using an umbrella when it is windy, unless the unbrella goes down to your ankles, since the wind blows the rain on you making you wet.

6:13 PM  

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