The epee umbrella

Rumour has it that one night in my grandparents’ apple orchard, there were some thieves stealing gas from the tank my Grandpa kept for the tractors. My uncle–who was a salesman and not the first person I would choose as a defender (no disrespect intended to Uncle Bob)–went out to run them off. This umbrella is what he took as his weapon.

Vintage pagoda ombre umbrella

En garde!

The gas incident was well before I was born. Eventually, this umbrella made its way to my grandparents’ cottage. Every so often, it would be pulled out on rainy days so that people could make their way back and forth between cottages. When my grandmother sold the cottage, the umbrella became mine.

Vintage pagoda ombre umbrella

The April issue of Country Living magazine featured vintage umbrellas, including one that looked a lot like mine. The shape is called pagoda, and according to CL, “Asian-inspired shapes generally indicate an older piece.” Given its illustrious family history, my umbrella is obviously somewhat old. The umbrella in the magazine was made in Montreal. That Canadian lineage makes me wonder if mine might be related.

Vintage pagoda ombre umbrella

I saw another umbrella very similar to mine at an antique show on the weekend. It was even rose ombre but reversed with the pink on the bottom and white on the top. The tag said it was from Montreal too. It was priced at $80. Country Living valued their umbrella at twice that–$160. I’m not sure that mine is worth that much, but maybe it’s about the price of a tank of gas–even at today’s prices.

Do you have any family hand-me-downs with interesting pasts? Have you ever spotted any of your heirlooms in  a magazine?


10 thoughts on “The epee umbrella

  1. That is a GORGEOUS umbrella! I am amazed that it is such great shape after so many years and thief-deterring! I have so many family heirlooms and family stories. My mom is quite the historian and geneology-researcher!

  2. Were you at the Christie antique show last weekend? I was there with a friend. If so, what did you think of it? I try to go every year and find it most interesting.

    It was nice to see Matt and Greg on Monday.

    Take care,


    Sent from my iPad


    • Yup. That’s where I was. It was busy, busy, busy… even more so than usual. It’s always a fun experience, even if I mostly window shop. I’m kicking myself for not moving faster on a set of chairs that would have worked for the dining room, but there’s always next year.

      Matt and Greg said it was neat to see you too.

  3. Beautiful umbrella, and a great story too. I imagine it is worth more to you than $160 anyway, but it would still be nice to know if it’s worth something. I don’t think I have any old hand-me-down items like this, although my parents probably do.

  4. That is a beautiful umbrella! I have seen things like mine or my folks’ in magazines too. It’s pretty cool. I love the story about your uncle 😉 Things were simpler back then!

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