When it is raining cats and dogs, you need a fox.
No one engineers umbrellas like Fox Umbrellas. They have been making, what some call the Rolls Royce of umbrellas, since 1868. It all started during the reign of Queen Victoria. A Mr Thomas Fox opened a shop making and selling umbrellas in Fore Street, now London Wall. But Samuel Dixon bought it after only 12 years. It is reputed that maybe Mr Thomas Fox had a small gambling habit and may have owed Samuel Dixon some money. And that is how the shop was transferred into the Dixon family. Unfortunately, there are no records of what happened to Mr Thomas Fox.
Separately another Mr Fox, this time a Mr Samuel Fox from Stocksbridge near Sheffield (who was no relation) had invented a way of using steel for the inside frame instead of whalebone. This was a huge advancement and Fox Umbrellas began to use that technique also.
When war broke out Fox Umbrellas turned their attention to helping the effort. They produced flare parachutes with the new material Nylon. Fox Umbrellas instantly realised that the potential of Nylon, when it came to umbrella manufacturing was huge. He then exhibited the first Nylon umbrella to the British public at the ‘Britain Can Make it’ exhibition. Held at the Victoria and Albert museum in 1946.
Fox’s commitment to style, craftsmanship and Made in Britain hold no bounds. To make a Fox umbrella it can take between 70 and 100 different steps and most of these steps can’t be replicated by a machine. So good ‘ol elbow grease and nimble fingers are required. This is what makes Fox umbrellas unparalleled. Take George Plonka for instance, a master umbrella maker, he has been working for Fox for a mere 55 years and is now passing his skills onto the next generation of craftsmen. This isn’t a dying trade but it is a specialised one. There are woodworkers, machinists, mounters and cutters all dedicated to creating an umbrella that won’t just last but could possibly be passed on to the next generation it cared for correctly.
When it comes to style, an exquisitely made umbrella can make all the difference to an outfit, be it a city suit or a weekend outfit. And the patronage of Fox Umbrellas cements just that. To name drop a few; John F Kennedy commissioned some for family members. John Steed from The Avengers always carried a Fox Umbrella to defend the realm from its enemies. The British and Japanese Royal Family both use Fox umbrellas and more recently to aid authenticity they are to be seen on screen in Peaky Blinders.
The humble brolly may be seen as only designed to keep the rain off your head. But in fact when you buy a Fox, you are buying sartorial elegance, years of craftsmanship and a little bit of British history all folded up in a perfectly engineered form.
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