Home >> Encyclopedia Americana, Volume 27 >> Twelfth Night to United States And Macedo >> Umbrella

Umbrella

tree, name, feet, leaves, branches and effeminate

UMBRELLA, as its name implies, an in strument for casting shade. They were intro duced from Asiatic countries, where they are of great antiquity, and are used as protectors from the sun's rays, rather than from rain. They were brought to England from Italy in the early part of the 18th century, and later came into general use, being employed by ladies, but scorned by men as effeminate, until Jonas Han way, an eccentric traveler, demonstrated its utility as a protection from rain. They soon came into universal use. The general construc tion of umbrellas has changed little in the thousands of years it has been known, the an cient Chinese patterns being adopted by the Europeans. Gloria or alpaca in the common grades and silk in the finer ones have been sub stituted for the oiled paper once used for the covering, while grooved steel ribs have taken the place of the bamboo, rattan or oak ones. English manufactories control the largest out put of the article and maintain a general excel lence of quality. In Burma and Siam the um brella is an emblem of rank. The Japanese have used umbrellas ever since their empire was established. In Greece they were used by ladiei of position, and the Greek poets have reference thereto. In Rome women and effeminate men used them as a protection from the sun's heat.

an extraordinary South American forest-bird (CephaloPterus ornatus) of the family Cotingidee, which takes its name from its remarkable crest of feathers, the shafts of which, according to Wallace, radi ate on all sides, reaching beyond the tip of the bill and forming a dome or parasol about four inches in diameter. The resemblance of this ornament to a helmet-plume has led to the name ((dragoon-bird.* Another curious feature is a cylindrical fleshy process, an inch and a half long, pendent from the front of the neck, and clothed with overlapping feathers. This bird . is about the size of a crow and glossy black with a blue gloss on the crest. It in habits the valley of the Amazon. In the Andine region occurs a second species (C. penduliger)

with a much longer dewlap; and in Central America a third (C. glabricolis) in which the throat and dewlap are naked, except at the tip of the latter, and colored orange-red. These birds feed on berries and fruits, and have a loud, clear song. Consult Wallace, A. R., 'Travels on the Amazon) (London 1853) ; Newton, 'Dictionary of Birds) (New York 1896).

in eastern America, the larger species of Magnolia, and especially M. triPetala, or elk-wood. The latter's great, thin, oval leaves are pubescent beneath, nearly two feet long, and half as wide, and radiate from the ends of the branches, in a manner suggestive of the protecting ribs of an um brella, It is a tree from 30 to 4Q feet tall, with irregular branches, and grows naturally in shady woods and in deep soil. The flowers are large and cup-shaped, with creamy tinted, thick petals, and reflexed petaloid sepals, and have a disagreeable odor. The tree, nevertheless, is sometimes planted for ornament, being com pletely hardy no farther north than Pennsyl vania. The bark is slightly aromatic and tonic, but the wood is valueless. The ear-leafed un brella-tree is M. fraseri, with auricled foliage and fragrant flowers. M. ntacrophylla is the great-leaved umbrella-tree. The pride-of-China tree (Melia azedarach) has produced in the southwestern United States a variety, um braculifera, which forms a regular, dome shaped head like an open sun-shade, and is consequently to be added to the list of um brella-trees. The Queensland umbrella-tree is the handsome araliaceous Brassaia actinophylla, a tree 40 feet high; that of Guinea is Hibiscus guineensis. A screwpine, Pandanus odora tissimus, is also known by this name.

The umbrella-pine, or parasol-fir, is a tall evergreen tree (Sciadopitys verticillata) from Japan, with a pyramidal habit. Its true leaves are reduced to minute scales, and its apparent glossy, dark foliage is composed of phyllodia, or stems assuming the functions of leaves, which are arranged in umbrella-like whorls on the branches.