Monday, 1 August 2016

How Many Of Us Have Heard Of Jonas Hanway?

his claim to fame was that for nearly 30 years he was the most ridiculous man in London!

but why? well the picture above gives the clue, his use of a decidedly feminine object, an umbrella, in his time Jonas Hanway (1712-1786), got the idea from a business trip he took to Persia, where the women used enormous parasols imported from China along the Silk Road, it was just a small step to see that in London’s rainy streets it would be a hit, he was the first man to dare to use one in London and look ridiculous in the eyes of his contemporaries, no English gentleman would risk being seen in public with an umbrella, for nearly 30 years, Jonas Hanway, who was also known as a philanthropist and founded The Marine Society which is still in existence today, played the fool among the snobbish pedestrians, proudly promoting the sensible apparatus made from animals’ ribs and stretched cloth and which would democratize the city streets and have a serious impact on the carriage business, when finally the new-fangled gadget was excepted by the populace, many people opted to use an umbrella than hire a Hackney carriage, just one of the many objects we all take for granted today, well done Jonas!

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