Living in Wales is a real pleasure. ‘God’s Country’ as some call it, the Green, Green Grass of Home and all that, the only downer is the rain.
Now I am a hardened Welshman, I’ve been used to this sort of climate for over 35 years, but sometimes it still feels that I would be better off growing gills and webbed feet when you consider the amount of rain we seem to have.
There are a couple of reasons for the wet weather, primarily the high altitude of much of the country and also the close proximity to the Atlantic. Swansea (close to where I hail) is officially Britain’s wettest city, with Met Office data from the last twenty years showing that an average of 53 inches of rain falls in Swansea each year.
So I was pleased to get some information from Fulton Umbrellas – the UK’s largest supplier of umbrellas and rainwear – which explains the best type of umbrella which will last a long time, and also something that won’t get blown away when I open it, or damaged while I chuck it into the boot of my car.
Fulton Umbrellas were established in 1956 and are known worldwide for their high quality products and British engineering. The company holds the Royal Warrant to Her Majesty The Queen, and previously Her Majesty The Queen Mother. In addition to this, their umbrellas are regularly used by the TRH The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, and HRH The Duchess of Cornwall.
Back to me – I am the type of guy who buys the cheapest option in everything, call me thrifty or scrooge-like but in reality it is end up being false economy – I will often buy an umbrella for a couple of pound to save some cash, which is then so flimsy that it falls apart after a day or two of usage, or a gust of wind. Time’s need to change and I need a decent brolly!
Fulton Umbrellas sent me some information about the benefits of fibreglass umbrellas, I had never really thought about what my umbrella was made of previously, I guess it’s usually plastic or flimsy metal – so why would fibreglass umbrellas make a difference?
Firstly, what actually is Fibreglass?
- Fibreglass also goes by the name of ‘glass reinforced plastic’ (GRP) and is created by joining a collection of very thin fibres of glass with a binding solution.
- The main ingredients of fibreglass are silica sand, soda ash and limestone.
- Each glass fibre is often flattened into a sheet and can be constructed from various types of glass, and after, the fibreglass can be moulded into multiple shapes while not compromising its strength and durability.
The use of fibreglass began in World War II, after glass fibres (invented by Russel Games Slaytor) and polyester resin (used since 1935) were combined to create the strong, long-lasting product. Fibreglass was an excellent alternative to metal during wartime and currently, two million tons of unsaturated polyester resin is produced across the globe.
Fibreglass is an extremely versatile material which allows it to benefit multiple manufacturing sectors. The main advantages as a material are:
- Non-rotting and won’t corrode.
- Excellent thermal conductor.
- Exceptionally strong with a resistance that is better than steel.
- Great electrical insulator.
- High slip resistance.
- Easily combines with other synthetic resins.
- High impact resistance.
- Holds its shape and won’t expand or contract with heat/cold easily.
So why is it so good for an umbrella frame?
If you want an umbrella that will last, fibreglass offers excellent longevity. Fibreglass is tougher than carbon fibre, as it has a higher breaking point when flexed, as well as the ability to bend without compromising its structure.
Pound for pound, fibreglass is tougher than sheet metal, which is why it’s used for products such as wind turbines and car bodies. Fibreglass umbrella frames are excellent for withstanding high winds and powerful downpours. Less prone to cracking and denting than other materials, you don’t have to worry about the structure of your brolly in very bad weather.
Fibreglass has an incredibly low strength-to- weight ratio — hence its use in computers, TVs and mobile phones. Generally, fibreglass weighs about half as much as aluminium and a seventh as much as steel. So, not only is fibreglass extremely strong, but it’s also comfortably lightweight. Fibreglass is significantly lighter than wood or steel too, so it’s ideal for those days when the rain won’t stop and you need your umbrella over your head for hours.
While materials such as carbon fibre also have their advantages, fibreglass wins outright when it comes to flexibility.
Fibreglass racks up fewer maintenance costs than alternative materials such as carbon fibre, which makes them a cost-effective purchase for consumers.
You can find out more about the excellent products that Fulton Umbrellas produce by visiting here. I will certainly be using one of their fibreglass umbrellas going forward instead of buying several umbrellas every winter.
This post has been sponsored by Fulton Umbrellas.