DIW: Blunt Classic Umbrella

Our test of the "Blunt Classic Umbrella" takes us to the Walter H. Beech Wind Tunnel at the National Institute for Aviation Research. Wind Tunnel Director John Laffen has tested an umbrella in here before. But not the "Blunt Umbrella."

A video on The Grommet’s website says, "We call it a performance umbrella, because it is actually made to withstand the elements and be safer for you."

You can buy one online for 79-dollars. That does not include shipping and handling.

We start by testing the performance of a five-dollar umbrella from a big box store. John secures the umbrella's handle in the mount, exposing the canopy of the umbrella to the wind.

Around 26 miles an hour, the five-dollar umbrella collapses.
“So I would constitute this as done,” John said.

John says this five-dollar umbrella couldn't handle anymore wind. So, keep this in mind about the wind inside the tunnel with the "Blunt Classic" test. It’s not a gust of wind.

“That's a much more violent wind. And, by the nature of our laboratory, our facility we just can't simulate a gust,” Laffen said.

The "Blunt Umbrella’s” website says the "Blunt Classic" has been tested up to 72 miles an hour.

John follows the same process--fixing the handle of the “Blunt Classic” inside the mount.

“Now we've surpassed the other one,” John said as the wind speed passes 26 miles an hour.

Around 35 miles an hour, the umbrella starts moving rapidly and snaps off in the middle. A crew member retrieves the top half of the umbrella so we can take a look.

“That's clearly a joint right there,” John said.

“This test is probably more rigid, more extreme than a person holding an umbrella,” John said.

Next, we have a crew member hold the top half of the "Blunt Umbrella" during another wind test. We get up to 40 miles an hour before John calls-off the test for safety reasons.

Our crew member says the canopy felt sturdy the entire time she was holding onto it.

John says we don't know exactly how the company tested the umbrella in the wind tunnel--with or without a mount? Or, with a person holding it? Or, was that a 72 mile an hour gust... Not a constant wind speed?
So, does it work?

"Well based on the observations we have right now, I don't know if we can get that conclusion,” John said.

We heard back from the umbrella's inventor. He says they tested the umbrella in controlled settings--like wind tunnels-- and in "real world" situations. Also, he explained when conducting the "controlled wind tests"...the umbrella was held in two places, like a person might do in a strong wind--which might explain why the umbrella broke at a joint in our test. The inventor says holding it in just one place could subject the umbrella to forces that cause it to fail.