History of folding brolly living in Vic

Most Australians don't know life on a rainy day without an umbrella, but in years gone by the wet weather tool could be more of a hindrance than a help.

Melbourne woman Eva de Jong-Duldig has a special link to the contemporary brolly - her mother invented it.

On a trip to a Vienna museum with her future husband, Slawa Horowitz-Duldig came up with the idea to create a small, folding umbrella.

"The reason she invented it because she went off to draw at the museum on a wet day and she was carrying her really awkward long umbrella which she had to deposit at the cloakroom," Ms de Jong-Duldig told AAP.

So frustrated was the young woman by the experience that she put her creative mind to good use.

By 1928 she had drafted plans and a prototype with her father taking her to the patent office.

"She just thought it through, put it all together cut a pattern for the fabric herself and showed it to her family who were really impressed," Ms de Jong-Duldig said.

But after finding a manufacturer and successfully collecting royalties for a decade the family was forced to flee Austria in 1938 amid growing World War II hostilities.

The rise of Nazism meant Ms Horowitz-Duldig and her family headed to Singapore, before moving to Victoria.

The inventor couldn't defend her rights for the patent once they left the country and she sold the patent to the manufacturer.

"We got out with our lives and the money became unimportant," her daughter said.

"I think the reason she sold is she thought they would take it away from her, at least if she sold it they could never take away the fact she invented it."

After settling in Melbourne the family returned to visit Vienna and found their old home untouched including the original umbrella patents and prototypes.

The umbrella designs are in a Malvern studio where anyone can stop by and Ms de Jong-Duldig couldn't be more proud of sharing her mother's achievements.

"Her motivation was to invent something that was useful to people rather than the money," she said.

"Of all the things she achieved in her life she was most proud of that."

National Umbrella Day is recognised on February 10.

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