The Twofer: The Ultimate Umbrella and the Original Morgan

Wood is good.

Mr. Porter

As far as we can tell, archeologists love three things: hats, tombs and dividing time into ages.

The Stone Age. The Bronze Age. The Iron Age. Yet as with many divisions of culture—generations, Coke/Pepsi—the boundaries are more porous than not. Though one technology may almost totally supplant an ancestor, many happily find room for both. To wit: music streaming and vinyl records.

Take this umbrella. It combines the pleasing, knotty look of chestnut with the flexibility and strength of steel. Produced in Italy entirely of local materials, this luxurious parasol uses wood for its handsome trunk, resulting in what might be mistaken for a barrister’s cane or the staff of a very tasteful wizard, but concedes to the our era with metal struts and ribs. The umbrella is so rich, it doesn’t just stop rain—it vaporizes. The best of two eras, in ours.

Morgan

Need another example, and one even more British? Take a gander at the Morgan 4/4, which has been in continuous production since 1936. Beneath the aluminum body panels and inboard of the serious-looking black wire wheels lies an ash frame. Wooden, like a pencil or Dutch clog. It’s beautifully formed and hearty, and helps the roadster maintain an very last-century curb weight of under 1,800 lbs. With a 100-horsepower four-cylinder engine in the mix, this mélange of great materials gets going way too fast to be shoehorned into any era.