In climates where rain is common, people have tried many methods to stay dry through the centuries. Traditional rain capes were made of tightly-woven grass and reeds, and are documented at least as far back as 1000AD in China. In South America where rubber plants originated, native Amazonians used rubber extracts to waterproof their shoes and clothing. In Europe and Asia, water-repelling wool cloaks or tightly-woven fabrics treated with oil helped keep people dry, and by the 18th Century these ideas were being combined to create the precursors to the modern raincoat.
by Eric Langlois •