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FB Live Recap: Maglia Francesco and Mario Talarico Umbrellas

Handmade Italian Umbrellas

Maglia Francesco and Mario Talarico umbrellas are two of the preeminent Italian umbrella makers based out of Italy. Their umbrellas are highly sought after for their traditional style, handcrafted techniques that have made them truly unique. Here at The Hanger Project, we are proud to be the largest stockist of both Maglia Francesco and Mario Talarico. We offer over 70 different styles of unique, handmade umbrellas.

Ombrelli Maglia by Maglia Francesco

Maglia Francesco started making umbrellas at the age of 14 as an apprentice for a skilled umbrella maker in 1850. Four years later, Maglia Francesco branched out on his own and founded Ombrelli Maglia. As one of the few surviving umbrella makers who construct their umbrellas completely by hand, Francesco places special attention to every step in the manufacturing process. 

Maglia Francesco offers several types of umbrellas: solid stick, two piece construction, and the telescopic folding travel umbrella. With Maglia, not all umbrellas are created equal and here at The Hanger Project we truly value all that makes them unique. From the mother of pearl closure, embroidered fabric rings, to the horn or metal tipping, these characteristics make each umbrella one-of-a-kind.

Mario Talarico Umbrella

To understand the difference between Maglia Francesco and Mario Talarico umbrellas, you really have to know the people behind them. Ombrelli Maglia is a company who makes thousands of umbrellas a year, while Mario Talarico is simply two men, Talarico Sr. and Talarico Jr., handcrafting umbrellas out of their shop in Naples, Italy. Every umbrella by Talarico is quite literally, one of one. It is almost impossible to find the same canopy on the same stick in multiples.

 

Differences Between Talarico & Maglia

Although Maglia Francesco and Mario Talarico umbrellas use mother of pearl buttons, many of Talarico’s umbrellas have started featuring horn buttons. Another notable difference is that the majority of Talarico’s umbrellas feature unshaven shafts and are made from one piece canes. This requires a higher degree of selection and precision when creating the umbrella. Mario Talarico continues his family’s legacy of creating high quality, handmade umbrellas from his small shop in Naples Italy. Maglia Francesco and Mario Talarico umbrellas are not only artisan-made works of art, they reflect years of tradition and dedication umbrella makers have for their craft.

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Accessories Umbrellas

Italian Handmade Umbrellas: Different Wood Types

The foundation of any solid stick umbrella is the species of wood used to form its handle and cane. Here at The Hanger Project, we offer unique varieties of wooden umbrellas to suit an umbrella aficionado’s refined taste. From finely crafted Bamboo handles to rare Cherrywood canes, learn about the different variations in wood types that skilled umbrella makers, Mario Talarico and Maglia Francesco use to hand carve their heavily sought after umbrellas.

Any gentleman who appreciates quality and craftsmanship will revel in learning about the intricate yet detailed process of handcrafting an umbrella and the types of wood that umbrella makers carefully choose to construct the handle and cane.

Below is a list of some of the more common species of woods used in the construction of solid stick umbrellas:

Hickory Wood

The beauty of owning a Hickory wood umbrella is that the wooden handle comes in a range of light to dark finishes, (meaning that your umbrella will truly be one-of-a-kind). Hickory is often used by craftsmen because of its strength and shock resistance and its most notable properties include resilience, texture, and durability.

Cherry Wood

Compared to other types of wood, cherry wood is particularly sought after by craftsmen due to its sturdiness, durability, dependability, rich color, and natural scent. Cherry wood does darken over time, developing a rich yet deep patina that gives the wood an antique feel.

Hazelwood

Hazel trees are native to Asia Minor but currently grow throughout Europe. Their bark is very hard and the wood is comparatively light in weight but has a rather course surface.
This umbrella is entirely made by hand and finished to a very high standard. The inner side of the shade is finished with hand stitching and its steel spokes are made in line with a traditional handicraft technique. The ribbon on the shade has a hand embroidered ring with a particular button, while the tip of the umbrella is made of horn.

Malacca

Malacca is a rare species of rattan that grows on the coast of the Indonesian island called Sumatra. Known as the “King of Canes,” Malacca’s most notable features are that it is lightweight, durable, strong, and is sought after for its natural glossy shine.

Bamboo

Bamboo is not only water resistant, it is highly regarded for its natural, earthy tones. Not only is the wood visually appealing, it is ‘stronger than steel and more durable than both Maple wood and red oak. This particular umbrella is ideal for the eco-friendly gentleman, as bamboo is a lot greener and eco-friendly than other woods.

Chestnut

Often appreciated for its warm tones, Chestnut wood also has a grain and pattern that makes it truly unique. Although chestnut is a strong wood type, it is fairly light, which makes it a perfect choice for crafting an umbrella handle and cane.

Congo wood

Hailing from the Democratic Republic of Congo, this wood is known for its durability, strength, and rich brown tones. The African Congo wood gives off a rustic look that is ideal for any gentleman who enjoys exotic features.

Click here to shop our collection of Italian Umbrellas.

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Accessories Umbrellas

The History of Fox Umbrellas

Well-made umbrellas are beautiful things in their own right, and I’ve been collecting them for a few years now. Most of mine are from small workshops in Italy, some are from France, and some are vintage. A number are also from Britain, as no country – no matter how skilled their craftsmen – give umbrellas the same kind of heritage. Perhaps it’s because of our image of the ideal English gentleman, with a bowler hat on his head and the crook of an umbrella on his arm. Or perhaps it’s because presidents, royalty, and movie stars have always gotten their umbrellas from here.
Either way, some may be surprised to find out that not all English umbrellas are made in England. Some are in fact made in Italy. Fox Umbrellas, however, have been making theirs on their wet isle for almost 150 years. In fact, if you visit their offices in Surrey today, you can not only see the showroom, but also the workshop where they make their brollies.
The process starts with the stick. If the umbrella is made from a solid piece of wood – such that a single stick forms both the handle and shaft – then a small groove must be cut into the wood so that a metal spring can be inserted. Since each wood is different, and each cut can be a hair off, the springs must be twisted and bent by hand, so that they fit perfectly inside these grooves. If they’re just a millimeter off, they’ll rub against the side of the wood and wear the shaft down from the inside.
Fox-Umbrellas-Metal-Spring-Hand-Bent Fox-Umbrellas-Metal-Spring-Inserted Fox-Umbrellas-Metal-Spring

Once the spring is inserted, and gives that perfect “ring” when it’s depressed and released, then it’s used to hold the metal runner that goes up and down the shaft. Next, the spindly ribs and protective cover go on the other end, and the two are sewn together by hand in order to ensure secure attachment.

Fox-Umbrellas-Metal-Slider Fox-Umbrellas-Metal-Slider-2 Fox-Umbrellas-Metal-Ribbs

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The process of making a handcrafted umbrella in Britain isn’t too dissimilar to the processes used in Italy or France. The difference is mainly in the heritage. British luxury goods have long been known to be artful and beautiful, but also highly durable. Think of bridle leather goods from companies such as Ettinger, or the sturdy tweeds woven in the Outer Hebrides. A good British umbrella carries the same heritage, and at Fox, you know that British-ness is not just in name, but also in make.

Fox Handmade Umbrellas

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Accessories Umbrellas

Mario Talarico – Naples’s Legendary Umbrella Maker

Mario Talarico Umbrellas

Mario Talarico is something of a legend in Naples. Well into his 80’s, he can still be found behind his workbench in a small alley off of Naples’s Spanish District crafting some of the finest handmade umbrellas in the world. This fourth-generation artisan workshop still makes their umbrellas completely by hand using the traditional techniques handed down over generations.

Talarico is a true artisan – each umbrella is individually crafted and totally unique. And such is our collection. Every umbrellas is crafted one-of-one and you practically have to go to Naples in person to purchase these, as I did in June 2013.

Because every umbrella is literally unique, each was personally hand-selected by me and then photographed and loaded onto our website individually. I almost went crazy after loading 22 discrete umbrellas at the same time. However, these umbrellas are such works of art it was worth it.

IMG_6525_export   The Talarico Storefront

As you can see, Talarico’s storefront is incredibly discrete. One could easily pass it by thinking it a cheap umbrella store without realizing that one of the world’s oldest and greatest umbrella makers is quietly working away inside.

Occupying their original storefront, Talarico began to occupy adjacent storefronts as they grew. The result is an non-contiguous, hodgepodge that has evolved over the years. Each small shop is overflowing with umbrellas, leaving almost no room to work.

However, Talarico does not need much room to work, as he employs the same methods to construct his umbrellas today as his great-grandfather did in the 19th Century. Mario Talarico Sr. is the third-generation, with his nephew apprenticing as the fourth.

This 300 year-old workbench is where Talarico continues his craft day in and day out.

I was immediately struck by the authenticity at Talarico’s workshop. The fact that none of it seems to make sense with it’s reputation somehow makes it even more authentic. In this day-in-age where anyone can market to the world through the internet, Talarico still somehow maintains the ethos of a small, local artisan who can only be found and accessed in person. The above photograph is of Talarico’s workbench, which he claims is almost 300 years old. The workshop is so small, Talarico had to cut a hole in the wall just to have enough room to work with his canes.

I have known about Talarico for years. But as you can see from their website, one cannot easily order directly from them. It was only after a last-minute trip to Naples that I had the opportunity to visit Talarico personally. And it was only by visiting him personally that I was able to purchase umbrellas for The Hanger Project.

Mario Talarico, 3rd Generation Umbrella Maker

The Hanger Project collection of Talarico umbrellas were hand selected by me personally on our trip.

The Talarico Difference

We have carried Maglia Francesco umbrellas for years, and they make absolutely fantastic umbrellas. I am a big fan of Maglia — they make incredible umbrellas and are easy to transact with. Talarico, on the other hand, also makes fantastic umbrellas. But unlike Maglia which is really a company, Talarico is almost a one-man show. He is a small artisan quietly working away in his workshop.

Below are some of the primary differences that really separate Talarico umbrellas from everything else.

 

1. Unshaven, Solid-Stick Canes

Because Talarico essentially works by himself for himself, he is afforded greater latitude with his work. And this latitude has allowed Talarico to spend more time with the canes of his umbrellas than anyone else. Whereas Maglia purchases their canes from another artisan in Milan, Talarico forges all his canes himself. And he is the only umbrella maker who creates solid-stick umbrellas with unshaven shafts. These single-piece shafts showcase the bark of the wood all the way through the cane. Only one out of 10 raw canes are perfect enough to enable this construction.

Mario Talarico Ashwood Cane UmbrellasMario Talarico Hazel Wood Cane Umbrella
Click the images to enlarge

2. Mother-of-Pearl Button Fastener

Instead of a traditional button-snap closure, Talarico uses a mother-of-pearl button with an embroidered ring. This detail is insignificant, but important. For one, the MOP button closure is just classier. But the embroidered ring decreases wear since there is no metal-on-thread.

The Hanger Project Luxury Garment Care

3. Horn Tip

All of Talarico’s umbrellas are finished with a polished-horn tip. Again, another small detail that separates Talarico’s umbrellas from everyone else.

The Hanger Project Luxury Garment Care

Talarico Umbrellas are works of art. Click here to view our entire selection of Talarico Umbrellas.