#58: Un-brella

Where would the poor old Patent Office be without the umbrella?

I’ve been thinking about how best to upgrade the humble brolly. Here are some suggestions.


Replace all that folding framework over one’s head with a set of equispaced, flexible petals attached to the top of the shaft. The petals rotate like a propeller, fast enough to stop raindrops getting through to you. Flexible petals don’t poke people’s eyes out and merely brush by obstacles (like those little desk fans).

The whole shebang can be driven by a cordless drill motor (aerofoil-section petals might then help support the weight).

If you want to get really funky (my recommendation), then drive it using a toothed belt attached to one’s foot. The belt would engage with a ratchet on a flywheel in the handle of the brolly only as your foot moves downwards; slipping over the ratchet freely as your foot rises again.

All this gyroscopic rotation would help stabilise the unbrella against gusts of wind but might make cornering complicated.

If you must, the petals can be decorated with slogans which are only visible when spinning.

When the rain stops, the motor can be disconnected and the limp petals easily wrapped around the shaft using an elastic band (Patent number: US 1000299278387467837687282827128918 “Linearly Extensible Continuous Ring-shaped Securing Device or System”).

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