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Patent Searching and Data


Title:
UMBRELLA
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/1992/003946
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
An umbrella comprises a reservoir (1) near the tip of the umbrella and a retractable sleeve or cover (2) which may be extended along the closed umbrella. After use the wet umbrella is closed, the sleeve extended along the umbrella, and the rainwater drips down the closed umbrella within the sleeve (2) into the reservoir (1) instead of wetting the environment.

Inventors:
Chan
John
Chee
Yuen
Application Number:
PCT/GB1991/001518
Publication Date:
March 19, 1992
Filing Date:
September 06, 1991
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
MULTI-HARVEST INDUSTRIAL LTD
Chan, John Chee Yuen
International Classes:
A45B25/24; A45B25/28; (IPC1-7): A45B25/28
Foreign References:
FR590030A
DE215384C
DE8713140U1
US2545022A
US2227113A
DE669160C
DE8804577U1
US2742913A
US0337145A
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS
1. An umbrella comprising containment means integral with or permanently fixed to the outer end of the umbrella for containing rainwater that has moved down the umbrella when wet and closed, and a waterproof/leakproof retractable sleeve or cover means capable of being extended along the closed and wet umbrella so as to retain r* .nwater on the umbrella within the sleeve or cover means for subsequent movement down into the containment means.
2. An umbrella as claimed in Claim 1 wherein the containment means is waterproof/leakproof.
3. An umbrella as claimed in either Claim 1 or 2 wherein the sleeve/cover means is mcunted to the containment means.
4. An umbrella as claimed in any preceding claim wherein the outer end of the umbrella is provided with a flat outer surface.
5. An umbrella as claimed in any preceding claim wherein the sleeve/cover means encloses in its fully extended position a substantial portion of the canopy material of the umbrella.
6. An umbrella as claimed in any preceding claim wherein a collar is counted to the outer end of the sleeve/cover means.
7. An umbrella as claimed in Claim 6 wherein the containment means cooperates with the collar in order to form a housing for storing of water. IS .
8. An umbrella as claimed in either Claim 6 or 7 wherein the collar is rotatably mounted to the sleeve/cover means.
9. An umbrella as claimed in any one of Claims 6 to 8 wherein the collar is formed by an inner member which is mounted to an outer member, the outer end of the sleeve/cover means being rotatably trapped between the inner and outer members.
10. An umbrella as claimed in any one of Claims 6 to 9 wherein the collar is provided on the sleeve or cover means for use in extending and contracting the sleeve or cover means, the external dimensions of the collar being chosen so that the user's hand need not come into contact with the folded canopy of the umbrella when moving the collar.
11. An umbrella as claimed in any one of Claim 6 to 10 wherein the collar is provided for extending and contracting the sleeve or cover means, the dimensions of the collar being chosen so that in an extended position of the sleeve or cover means the outward pressure of the folded canopy of the umbrella is sufficient to keep the collar in position.
12. An umbrella as claimed in Claim 11 wherein the dimensions of the collar are chosen so that circulation of air to from the inside of the sleeve or cover means is allowed.
13. An umbrella as claimed in either Claim 11 or 12 wherein the sleeve or cover means is extendable to a number of alternative extended positions along the folded canopy of the umbrella, the collar being held in position in each of these extended positions solely by the outward pressure of the folded canopy.
14. An umbrella as claimed in any one of Claims 6 to 13 wherein the collar is provided with at least one opening which does not come into contact with the canopy material of the umbrella.
15. An umbrella as claimed in any preceding claim wherein the sleeve or cover means acts to guide rainwater to the containment means.
16. An umbrella as claimed in any preceding claim wherein the sleeve or cover means is unitary.
17. An umbrella as claimed in Claim 16 wherein the sleeve or cover means is made from a single seamless piece of material which is foldable.
18. An umbrella as claimed in any preceding claim wherein the sleeve or cover means loosely encloses the canopy of the umbrella to provide an air gap therearound.
19. An umbrella as claimed in any preceding claim wherein the sleeve or cover means is accordeon or bellow shaped.
20. An umbrella as claimed in any preceding claim wherein the side of the sleeve or cover means is zigzag shaped in crosssection.
21. An umbrella as claimed in Claim 20 wherein the sigzag side of the sleeve or cover means is made up of a plurality of portions which are directed in one direction and a plurality of portions which are directed in another direction, the portions in one direction being longer than the portions in the other direction.
22. An umbrella as claimed in any preceding claim wherein the sleeve or cover means has been preheated and thereafter immediately cooled.
23. An umbrella as claimed in any preceding claim wherein the arrangement is so designed and arranged that rainwater can only be removed through an open end of the sleeve or cover means.
24. An umbrella attachment for fixing to the outer end of an umbrella comprising containment means for containing rainwater that has moved down a closed and wet umbrella, and a waterproof/leakproof retractable sleeve or cover means capable of being extended along the closed and wet umbrella so as to retain rainwater on the umbrella within the sleeve or cover means for subsequent movement down into the containment means, the arrangement being so designed and arranged that rainwater can only be removed from the umbrella attachment through an open end of the sleeve or cover means.
25. An umbrella attachment as claimed in Claim 24 wherein the sleeve/cover means is mounted to the containment means.
26. An umbrella attachment as claimed in either Claim 24 or 25 wherein the outer end of the umbrella attachment is provided with a flat outer surface.
27. An umbrella attachment as claimed in any one of Claims 24 to 26 wherein the sleeve/cover means encloses in use and in its fully extended position a substantial portion of the canopy material of an umbrella.
28. An umbrella attachment as claimed in any one of Claims 24 to 27 wherein a collar is mounted to the outer end of the sleeve/cover means.
29. An umbrella attachment as claimed in Claim 28 wherein the containment means cooperates with the collar in order to form a housing for storing of water.
30. An umbrella attachment as claimed in either Claim 28 or 29 wherein the collar is rotatably mounted ,o the sleeve/cover means.
31. An umbrella attachment as claimed in any one of Claims 28 to 30 wherein the collar is formed by an inner member which is mounted to an outer member, the outer end of the sleeve/cover means being rotatably trapped between the inner and outer members.
32. An jnbrella attachment as claimed in any one of Claims 28 to 31 wherein the collar is provided on the sleeve or cover means for use in extending and contracting the sleeve or cover means, the external dimensions of the collar being chosen so that in use, the user's hand need not come into contact with the folded canopy of a umbrella when moving the collar.
33. An umbrella attachment as claimed in any one of Claim 28 to 32 wherein the collar is provided for extending and contracting the sleeve or cover means, the dimensions of the collar being chosen so that in use and in an extended position of the sleeve or cover means the outward pressure of the folded canopy of an umbrella is sufficient to keep the collar in position.
34. An umbrella as claimed in Claim 33 wherein the dimensions of the collar are chosen so that circulation of air to from the inside of the sleeve or cover means is allowed.
35. An umbrella as claimed in either Claim 33 or 34 wherein the sleeve or cover means is extendable to a number of alternative extended positions along the folded canopy of the umbrella, the collar being held in position in each of these extended positions solely by the outward pressure of the folded canopy.
36. An umbrella attachment as claimed in any one of Claims 28 to 33 wherein the collar is provided with at least one opening which does not come into contact with the canopy material of the umbrella.
37. An umbrella attachment as claimed in any one of Claims 24 to 36 wherein the sleeve or cover means acts to guide rainwater to the containment means.
38. An umbrella attachment as claimed in any one of Claims 24 to 37 wherein the sleeve or cover means is unitary.
39. An umbrella attachment as claimed in Claim 38 wherein the sleeve or cover means is made from a single seamless piece of material which is foldable.
40. An umbrella attachment as claimed in any one of Claims 24 to 39 wherein the sleeve or cover means in use loosely encloses the canopy of an umbrella to provide an air gap therearound.
41. An umbrella attachment as claimed in any one of Claims 24 to 40 wherein the sleeve or cover means is accordeon or bellow shaped.
42. An umbrella attachment as claimed in any one of Claims 24 to 41 wherein the side of the sleeve or cover means is zigzag shaped in crosssection.
43. An umbrella attachment as claimed in Claim 42 wherein the zigzag side of the sleeve or cover means is made up of a plurality of portions which are directed in one direction and a plurality of portions which are directed in another direction, the portions in one direction being longer than the portions in the other direction.
44. An umbrella attachment as claimed in any one of Claims 24 to 43 wherein the sleeve or cover means has been preheated and thereafter immediately cooled.
45. An umbrella attachment for fixing to the outer end of an umbrella comprising containment means for containing rainwater that has moved down a closed and wet umbrella, and a waterproof/leakproof retractable sleeve or cover means capable of being extended along the closed and wet umbrella so as to retain rainwater on the umbrella within the sleeve or cover means for subsequent movement down into the containment means, wherein a collar is rotatably mounted to the outer end of the sleeve/cover means.
46. An umbrella attachment as claimed in Claim 45 wherein the sleeve/cover means is mounted to the containment means.
47. An umbrella attachment as claimed in either Claim 45 or 46 wherein the outer end of the umbrella attachment is provided with a flat outer surface.
48. An umbrella attachment as claimed in any one of Claims 45 to 47 wherein the sleeve/cover means encloses in use and in its fully extended position a substantial portion of the canopy material of an umbrella.
49. An umbrella attachment as claimed in any one of Claims 45 to 48, the arrangement being so designed and arranged that rainwater can only be removed from the umbrella attachment through an open end of the sleeve or cover means.
50. An umbrella attachment as claimed in any one of Claims 45 to 49 wherein the containment means cooperates with the collar in order to form a housing for storing of water.
51. An umbrella attachment as claimed in any one of Claims 45 to 50 wherein the collar is formed by an inner member which is mounted to an outer member, the outer end of the sleeve/cover means being rotatably trapped between the inner and outer members.
52. An umbrella attachment as claimed in any one of Claims 45 to 51 wherein the collar is provided on the sleeve or cover means for use in extending and contracting the sleeve or cover means, the external dimensions of the collar being chosen so that in use, the user's hand need not come into contact with the folded canopy of a umbrella when moving the collar.
53. An umbrella attachment as claimed in any o.^e of Claims 45 to 52 wherein the collar is provided for extending and contracting the sleeve or cover means, the dimensions of the collar being chosen so that in use and in an extended position of the sleeve or cover means the outward pressure of the folded canopy of an umbrella is sufficient to keep the collar in position.
54. An umbrella as claimed in Claim 53 wherein the dimensions of the collar are chosen so that circulation of air to from the inside of the sleeve or cover means is allowed.
55. An umbrella as claimed in either Claim 53 or 54 wherein the sleeve or cover means is extendable to a number of alternative extended positions along the folded canopy of the umbrella, the collar being held in position in each of these extended positions solely by the outward pressure of the folded canopy.
56. An umbrella attachment as claimed in any one of Claims 45 to 55 wherein the collar is provided with at least one opening which does not come into contact with the canopy material of the umbrella.
57. An umbrella attachment as claimed in any one of Claims 45 to 56 wherein the sleeve or cover means acts to guide rainwater to the containment means.
58. An umbrella attachment as claimed in any one of Claims 45 to 57 wherein the sleeve or cover means is unitary.
59. An umbrella attachment as claimed in Claim 58 wherein the sleeve or cover means is made from a single seamless piece of material which is foldable.
60. An umbrella attachment as claimed in any one of Claims 45 to 59 wherein the sleeve or cover means in use loosely encloses the canopy of an umbrella to provide an air gap therearound.
61. An umbrella attachment as claimed in any one of Claims 45 to 60 wherein the sleeve or cover means is accordeon or bellow shaped.
62. An umbrella attachment as claimed in any one of Claims 45 to 61 wherein the side of the sleeve or cover means is zigzag shaped in crosssection.
63. An umbrella attachment as claimed in Claim 62 wherein the zigzag side of the sleeve or cover means is made up of a plurality of portions which are directed in one direction and a plurality of portions which are directed in another direction, the portions in one direction being longer than the portions in the other direction.
64. An umbrella attachment as claimed in any one of Claims 45 to 63 wherein the sleeve or cover means has been preheated and thereafter immediately cooled.
65. A method of containing and then removing rainwater on an umbrella canopy comprising: a) covering the umbrella canopy when closed and wet with an extendable sleeve or cover means; b) retracting the sleeve or cover means when the umbrella canopy is drier; and c) removing water from the end of the umbrella by inverting the umbrella.
66. A method as claimed in Claim 65 wherein the umbrella canopy is opened at the same time the umbrella is inverted to remove water.
67. A method as claimed in either Claim 65 or 66 wherein the sleeve or cover means has a rotatably mounted collar thereon, and the step of covering the umbrella canopy with an extendable sleeve or cover means includes the rotating either of the collar relative to the rest of the umbrella and/or the rest of the umbrella relative to the collar .
68. A method as claimed in Claim 67 wherein the sleeve or cover means is extendable to cover the umbrella canopy when closed and wet to a number of alternative positions along the canopy, the collar being held in position in each of these extended positions solely by outward pressure of the folded canopy.
69. A method as claimed in any of Claims 65 to 67 wherein the sleeve or cover means prior to assembly to the umbrella has been heated and thereafter immediately cooled.
70. An umbrella substantially as herein described with reference to either Figures 1 to 7 or 9 to 14 of the accompanying drawings.
71. An umbrella attachment substantially as herein described with reference to Figure 8 of the accompanying drawings.
Description:
UMBRELLA This invention relates to umbrellas. A disadvantage with conventional umbrellas is that when the user reaches his destination, the wet umbrella may prove an inconvenience as there may be nowhere suitable to leave the umbrella to dry, and as a result the umbrella may undesirably wet a surrounding environment. This problem ariF^s particularly when the user reaches a public place such as a restaurant or office which does not have an umbrella stand so that the rainwater drips onto the floor, or when the user enters a vehicle and the rainwater drips onto the floor of the vehicle or onto the clothes of the occupant of the vehicle.

It has been proposed in the past to provide a drip cup adjacent the tip of an -umbrella to collect rainwater dripping down. Drip cups are described in US Patent Specification Nos. 976,032 (J.T. Bluff), 1,068,566 (F.H. Chavarria), 1,110,215 (C.J. Madonna), 1,373,642 (W.E. Airey and J. Pomfret) , 2,427,188 (A. Bossart) , 3,809,107 (Liu) and 4,703,768 (Lee), and also Italian Patent No. 309412 (Romagnoli) and Australian Patent No. 218,729 (Magini) .

Drip cups, however, suffer from certain disadvantages. One disadvantage is that when the umbrella is folded, it is not always possible to maintain the umbrella precisely vertical and therefore not all the rainwater on the canopy of the umbrella will drip down into

the drain cup. One situation in which the folded umbrella is not held vertically arises when the umbrella is folded on entering a building, and the user walks some distance through the building before reaching their final destination. As the user walks along through the building, the folded umbrella undergoes oscillatory motion, dropping rainwater onto the floor of the building. Another situation in which the umbrella is not held vertically arises when a user enters a vehicle. The limited space available in the vehicle and the motion of the vehicle prevent the folded umbrella being held upright. Another disadvantage with drain cups is that the rainwater which does collect in the drain cup may be accidentally spilled from the drain cup before an opportunity arises to empty the drain cup. Also, the wet canopy of the umbrella will wetten the user's clothes when in a crowded place like a bus, tram, etc.

It has also been proposed in the past to provide an umbrella with a drain cup and a ccver which can be telescoped toward the drain cup when the frame and canopy of the umbrella are opened out for use, which cover can be telescoped along the umbrella when the frame is collapsed and the canopy is folded after use so as to guide rainwater to the drain cup. United States Patent Specification No. 337,145 (R.E. Ghezzi) discloses an umbrella provided with such a cover which can be telescoped, and consists of a telescopic casing made from a series of tubes which can be

telescoped into one another. The telescopic casing proposed in the Ghezzi patent does solve some problems which arise with drain cups but the telescopic casing is impracticable for a number of reasons. The main disadvantage with the telescopic casing is that rainwater can leak out of the extended casing through the joints between the telescopic sections.

Secondly, considerable friction problems with the canopy of the umbrella are encountered in moving the telescopic casing to its extended position. As a result of this friction, it will take an appreciable time for the user to extend the cover, and if the user were to extend the cover in preparation for entering a vehicle, the user would become wet during the time taken. A similar problem would arise in alighting from a vehicle. Furthermore, such friction will in time wear out the canopy, and if the umbrella is used frequently, the canopy will wear out reasonably quickly.

Thirdly, in extending the telescopic cover, after gripping the movable end of the telescopic casing, the user's hand would travel all along the canopy of the umbrella, the user's hand thereby becoming wet in the course of this operation, which is not desirable in certain circumstances such as for example when the user is bearing or is about to handle documents.

Fourthly, as the telescopic casing is extended along the umbrella, the leading edge of the telescopic

casing would push rainwater ahead of it along the canopy of the umbrella thereby spraying rainwater instead of trapping it.

Fifthly, as a result of the considerable friction, the user would need to grip the umbrella very firmly in both hands in order to extend the telescopic casing, and this firm gripping in both hands would generally require the user to hold the umbrella horizontally thereby spraying rainwater. A final disadvantage is that since the canopy of the umbrella is tightly enclosed by the cover, any rainwater within the cover has little chance of vapourizing and thereby escaping from the cover as water vapour. This is a problem since water retained in the umbrella for a long time can lead to damage to parts of the umbrella and/or a nasty smell being produced.

An object of the present invention is to overcome one or more of the above mentioned problems.

In accordance with one aspect of the invention, an umbrella comprises containment means integral with or permanently fixed to the outer end of the umbrella for containing rainwater that has moved down the umbrella when wet and closed, and a waterproof/leakproof retractable sleeve or cover means capable of being extended along the closed and wet umbrella so as to retain -rainwater on the umbrella within the sleeve or cover means for subsequent movement down into the containment means.

Such contains dripping rainwater and prevents the umbrella wetting the surrounding environment. In particular, such reduces or eliminates the problem of drying a wet umbrella when there is no u rella stand or other suitable means of drying the umbrella.

Suitably the sleeve/cover means is mounted to the containment means.

Suitably the outer end of the umbrella is provided with a flat outer surface to act as a support for the umbrella.

Advantageously the sleeve/cover means encloses in its extended position a substantial portion of the canopy material of the umbrella.

Preferably the containment means cooperates with a collar rotatably mounted to the outer end of the sleeve/cover means in order to form a housing for storing of water.

Preferably the collar is formed by an inner member which is mounted to an outer member, the outer end of the sleeve/cover means being rotatably trapped between the inner and outer members.

Advantageously the sleeve or cover means guides collected rainwater to the containment means, and the sleeve or cover means is made from a single seamless piece of material which is foldable.

Suitably the sleeve or cover means loosely encloses the canopy of the umbrella to provide an air gap

- b

therearound, and thus allow evaporation of the collected rainwater, and in particular the sleeve or cover means is accordeon or bellow shaped.

Preferably the side of the sleeve or cover means is zig-zag shaped in cross-section, and in particular the side is made of a plurality of two types of portions, one type of portion being directed in one direction, which portions are longer than a plurality of portions directed in another direction. This gives the advantage that the sleeve or cover means can be easily folded upon itself.

Advantageously the sleeve or cover means prior to assembly to the umbrella is heat treated and then immediately colded in order to give the sleeve or cover means an inherent tendency to return to its folded shape. Preferably, the collar is provided on the sleeve/cover means for use in extending and contracting the sleeve/cover means, the external dimensions of the collar being chosen so that the user's hand need not come into contact with the folded canopy of the umbrella when moving the collar.

Suitably the collar is provided for extending and contracting the sleeve/cover means, the dimensions of the collar being chosen so that in the extended position of the sleeve/cover means the outward pressure of the folded canopy of the umbrella is sufficient to keep the collar in position while at the same time allowing circulation of air to and from the inside of the sleeve/cover means.

In accordance with another aspect of the invention an umbrella attachment for fixing to the outer end of an umbrella comprises containment means for containing rainwater that has moved down a closed and wet umbrella, and a waterproof/leakproof retractable sleeve or cover means capable of being extended along the closed and wet umbrella so as to retain rainwater on the umbrella within the sleeve or cover means for subsequent movement down into the containment means, the arrangement being so designed and arranged that rainwater can only be removed from the umbrella attachment through an open end of the sleeve or cover means.

In accordance with a further aspect of the invention, an umbrella attachment for fixing to the outer end of an umbrella comprises containment means for containing rainwater that has dripped down a closed and wet umbrella, and a waterproof/leakproof retractable sleeve or cover means capable of being extended along the closed and wet umbrella so as to retain rainwater on the umbrella within the sleeve or cover means for subsequent movement down into the cor ainment means, wherein a collar is rotatably mounted to the outer end of the sleeve/cover means.

In accordance with a yet further aspect of the invention, a method of containing and then removing rainwater on an umbrella canopy comprises: a) covering the umbrella canopy when closed and

wet with an extendable sleeve or cover means; b) retracting the sleeve or cover means when the umbrella canopy is drier; and c) removing water from the end of the umbrella by inverting the umbrella.

The invention will now be described more particularly with reference to the accompanying drawings which show, by way of example only, umbrellas and an umbrella attachment in accordance with the invention. In the drawings:-

Figure 1 is an elevation of a first embodiment of umbrella in accordance with the invention before use in the closed condition, and with the sleeve fully retracted; Figure 2 is an elevation of the umbrella of

Figure 1 in use, in the opened out condition; Figure 3 is an elevation of the umbrella of Figure 1 after use in the closed condition, and with the sleeve partly extended; Figure 4 is an elevation of the umbrella of

Figure 1 after use in the closed condition, and with the sleeve fully extended; Figure 5 is an elevation of the umbrella of Figure 1 at the start of next use, just after being opened out;

Figure 6 is an exploded perspective view on a larger scale of the rotatable collar of the

umbrella of Figure 1;

Figure 7 is a plan view of the umbrella of Figure 1 after use, in the folded condition and with the sleeve fully extended; Figure 8 is a cross-sectional side view of an umbrella attachment in accordance with the invention;

Figure 9 is an elevation of a second embodiment of umbrella in accordance with the invention before use in the closed condition, and with the sleeve fully retracted;

Figure 10 is an elevation of the umbrella of Figure 9 in use, in the opened out condition; Figure 11 is an elevation of the umbrella of Figure 9 after use in the closed condition, and with the sleeve partly extended; Figure 12 is an elevation of the umbrella of Figure 9 after use in the closed condition, and with the sleeve fully extended; Figure 13 is an elevation of the umbrella of

Figure 9 at the start of next use, just after being opened out; and

Figure 14 is an elevation of the umbrella of Figure 9, shown in a standing position. Referring to Figures 1 to 7 of-the drawings, an umbrella includes rainwater containment means in the form of reservoir 1 integral with the outer end of the umbrella, a retractable and extendable sleeve 2 non-rotatably mounted

to the reservoir, and a hand grip in the form of a collar 3 rotatably mounted to the outer end of the sleeve 2.

Before use (see Figure 1) and during use (see Figure 2) of the umbrella, the sleeve 2 is fully retracted into a water resistant housing 10, which housing is formed by joining the collar 3 to the reservoir 1.

After use of the umbrella, the umbrella canopy is collapsed and is then closed by applying hand pressure to keep the umbrella ribs together, and if the canopy is wet the collar 3 is rotated in a spiral motion up the vertically orientated umbrella to smooth and gather the canopy material/fabric of the umbrella. As a result, the friction between the collar 3 and the canopy material/fabric of the umbrella is kept to a minimum as the collar is moved along the canopy material/fabric. The collar 3 which is provided with an inner hole 9 (see Figure 6) is thus moved (see Figure 3) along the wet umbrella thereby fully extending the sleeve 2 (see Figure 4). To aid gathering of the canopy fabric, the handle of the umbrella is additionally twisted at the same time as the collar is rotated.

An alternative way of gathering the canopy is to prevent rotation of the collar by applying hand pressure to the collar, and to move the collar along the canopy as the handle of the umbrella is continually twisted by the user. The lengthwise movement of the collar 3 along the umbrella causes the sleeve 2 to extend in the manner of an

accordeon or bellows, The rotational movement of the collar 3 and/or twisting of the umbrella handle assists in folding the umbrella canopy about the shaft of the umbrella. The folding of the canopy reduces the friction between the collar 3 and the canopy fabric so that the sleeve can be rapidly and easily extended while the umbrella is held in the vertical position, and so that the rainwater on the canopy fabric is gathered into the sleeve instead of being pushed lengthwise along the umbrella ahead of the collar. The diameter of the collar 3 is sufficiently large that the user's hand does not come into contact with the canopy fabric. The dimensions of the collar 3 are also chosen so that in an extended position of the sleeve 2, the light outward pressure of the folded canopy fabric is sufficient to keep the collar in position without additional support. The sleeve 2 is extendable to a number of alternative extended positions along the folded canopy, the collar being held in position in each of these extended positions solely by the outward pressure of the folded canopy. Preferably, the sleeve 2 is usually fully extended (see Figure 4) in order to cover a substantial part of the folded canopy.

With the umbrella standing vertically, rainwater drips down the canopy fabric and collects in the reservoir 1. Even if the umbrella is not standing- vertically, for example if lying horizontally, the sleeve 2 contains the rainwater. The sleeve 2 is unitary, and preferably made

from a single seamless length of plastic material which is foldable, and in consequence, there are no joints through which leakage might take place. In particular, the sleeve is thus waterproof and leakproof. When the umbrella is next used, the collar 3 is moved back down the length of the umbrella thereby retracting the sleeve 2 into the housing 10 formed by the reservoir 1 and collar 3 (see Figure 1). The umbrella is then opened, and thereafter or at the same time the umbrella is turned upside down (see Figure 5) for use and the water falls out of the housing 10 onto the top surface of the opened out umbrella canopy.

In other words, when it is next desired to use the umbrella, the umbrella is held vertically, that is to say with the tip of the umbrella pointing downwards, the collar 3 is then moved along the length of the umbrella to retract the sleeve 2 into the housing (see Figure 1), the ribs of the umbrella and canopy fabric are moved to their erected state, and the umbrella in the erect state is then or at the same time turned into the orientation for use, that is to say with the tip pointing upwards (see Figure 5). Collected rainwater then falls out of the housing 10 onto the top surface of the canopy fabric of the umbrella. If the umbrella is not used for some time, for example overnight, some or all of the rainwater on the canopy fabric and in the reservoir 1 evaporates, so that some of the steps described in the preceding paragraphs are

not necessary. Evaporation is facilitated by the open spaces (ie air gaps) within the sleeve 2 arising from the accordeon structure, which allows good ventilation within the sleeve. Evaporation is further facilitated by the relatively loose fit of the collar 3 on the canopy fabric which permits air to escape upwards between the folds of the canopy fabric (see Figures 6 and 7). Finally, evaporation is helped by the sleeve 2 only covering a substantial part of the canopy when fully extended (see Figure 4) whereby a small part of the canopy is exposed.

This facilitates water on the canopy to move upwards due to capillary action. Such features allow circulation of air to and from the sleeve or cover means. Evaporation ensures that the umbrella does not remain wet for too long and therefore extends significantly the life of the umbrella. Referring to Figure 6 the sleeve 2 has a zig-zag configuration in cross-section wherein the sides 2a of the zig-zag directed in an outward direction are longer (eg by lmm) than the sides 2b of the zig-zag configuration directed in an inward direction whereby the sleeve 2 can easily fold up due to a suction force that is created due to the different lengths of the sides 2a and 2b. Alternatively, the sides directed in an outward direction are shorter (eg by 1 mm) than the sides directe.. in any inward direction to give a similar suction effect.

Suitably, the sides of the zig-zag directed in the outward direction are longer than the sides directed in

the inward direction since when the sides of the sleeve are folded (ie the sleeve is retracted) and the umbrella inverted, the inner edges of the folded sides will be at a lower position than the outer edges of the folded sides such that firstly water in the sleeve and the bottom of the umbrella will not be trapped within the folded sides of the sleeve as it exits the open end of the sleeve, and secondly any water (which will be minimal) which happens to be between the folded sides of the sleeve can drain away in any case.

The sleeve 2 prior to assembly to the umbrella is heat treated for between 5 and 15 minutes at a temperature between 80 and 120°C before being placed into cold water in order to give the sleeve 2 a "rubber band" effect, in other words an inherent tendency to return to its folded up position. Suitably the material of the sleeve is EVA material.

In Figure 6, the rotational collar 3 is also shown which comprises two elements, an inner dome 3a and an outer dome 3b which is fixed relative to the inner dome 3a. Rotatably trapped between the inner and outer domes is the outer end of the sleeve 2.

Figure 8 shows an umbrella attachment 20 which can be attached to the end of a standard umbrella. The umbrella attachment has basically the same features of the umbrella shown in Figures 1 to 7 except that the umbrella attachment of Figure 8 has an umbrella connecting member 22

with a receiving hole 24 into which the end of a conventional umbrella (not shown) is snugly positioned.

Furthermore, no reservoir as such is provided in the umbrella attachment 20, but rather the space (see 26) between the inner wall of the sleeve 2 and the outer wall of the umbrella connecting member 22 acts as a containment means for rainwater.

An additional feature of the umbrella attachment 20 is that air channels 19 are provided in the top of the collar 3 outwardly of the inner hole 9 of the collar 3 to facilitate further evaporation of water from inside the sleeve 2. In particular, the feature prevents the folded wet umbrella canopy engaging the inner hole 9 from blocking water inside the attachment 20 from evaporation through the air channf .s 19.

Figures 9 to 14 meanwhile disclose a folded type umbrella adapted with basically the same retractable sleeve of the umbrella shown in Figures 1 to 7.

Basically, identical considerations in respect of the sleeve disclosed in Figures 1 to 7 also apply to the sleeve shown in Figures 9 to 14. The only further consideration is that prior to extending the collar, the canopy material and ribs of the umbrella must be manually brought together (eg by a hand of the user) whereby the collar can be moved up over the gathered canopy material and ribs of the umbrella.

The only other modification regarding the folded

type umbrella is that the outer end of the umbrella is provided with a flat surface 11 such that the umbrella can be stood in an upright closed condition (see Figure 14) such that water can easily collect in the reservoir.