Why are umbrellas pointed?

Simple question I was pondering after breaking out my new golf umbrella today on the way to the office…

Why do umbrellas have pointed ends? I’m not talking about the little mini-fold umbrellas that usually terminate in a sort of button at the end. Rather, I’m talking your conventional, full-size stick umbrella. This includes golf umbrellas. They almost invariably have a metal or wood (or nowadays plastic) spike at the end.

I’d guess it’s a pointless convention, a holdover from some now-unnecessary practice. Seems to me like it would make a good weapon…doubt that’s got anything to do with it, though.

Here’s my WAG: It’s to keep the (relatively) fragile fabic portion of it off the ground if it is used as a cane when not held over the head to deflect rain. If it were just a small button instead, the faric near the button would likely scrape against the ground fairly often, resulting in holes in the umbrella.

Also, a rolled-up umbrella makes a great weapon.
I’m just sayin’…

I always thought it was so the metal rod had somewhere to go when you opened the umbrella…? Like when you push up on the spring (or push the button), the umbrella opens and it kind of “locks in” into that piece of metal, or plastic or whatever. No?

I like caveman’s WAG. It’s very sensible. Long umbrellas often have a cane-like handle, and are often carried like a cane, it makes sense to give them a sturdy tip. Short umbrellas are carried in the hand or in a bag, no need for a tip, so you get a button. Golf umbrellas also use the tip to fit into a loop at the bottom of the bag, securing the tip end.

Though this is all sensible, it doesn’t explain why the standard design is a spike, rather than any other shape. Can’t find any cite but I guess it could be so the umbrella might be used as an impromptu weapon.

Well, I’m just going off a hunch and possibly a bit of history/athropolgy… but it seems to be used mostly as a cane. As for the tip shape, the hell if I know- but cane’s often have this same feature at their ends as well.

It’s a lightning rod. :eek:


To be fair to gnurpreet, despite his inability to look at the date of the post to which he is responding, that umbrella design is pretty nice in that the wet top is enclosed when the umbrella is not in use.

Normal umbrellas have wet outsides when closed.

However, I forsee a design flaw in that rainwater would make it’s way in around the pointed end. It would be hard to seal that properly.

I believe it’s two layers. The top layer is attached at the pointed end, the bottom layer to the sliding mechanism, and sealed at the edges. Look at the half-folded picture here:


scudsucker did not bump this thread; that was done by a spammer, who’s since been folded.

I have seen people stick the pointy end of a golf umbrella in the ground while they are doing something else. In fact, I have seen a line of golf umbrellas stuck in the ground waiting for people to take them.

The pointy end is to stab or fire at Batman while he tries to foil your penguin-themed criminal endeavors.

When you lean your umbrella against the wall point down (as one tends to do), the spike is more likely to hold. A sphere shape, for example, would be more likely to slide and allow the umbrella to fall over. And because the pointed end often comes into contact with the ground, a spike won’t show scratches the way other shapes would.