Modern umbrellas have a rider (a hollow cylinder) that slides up the shaft to force the umbrella vanes open. It is held in place by a spring latch that protrudes close to the top of the shaft - I've seen it called the 'top spring'.

How early was this convenience widely manufactured? Was there some other locking mechanism used before that (e.g. friction, a bolt/screw, etc.)?

I've tried looking for images of antique umbrellas but it's hard to determine the age of the umbrellas pictured, and most of them don't show the upper part of the shaft.

[I'm reading an old passage in a foreign language describing the locking mechanism and the exact details are important for understanding the entire discussion therein].

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    Looks like folding/self-closing umbrella have been around for a while. See US959383A, Folding umbrella (1909), and US1091895A, Self opening and closing umbrella (1913). No idea how early they've been mass produced though. – Denis de Bernardy Sep 17 at 7:48
  • Quite possibly the answer is in the museodellombrello.org – Aaron Brick Oct 25 at 23:31

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