Monday, May 28
An Illustrated History of the Picnic Table
Picnic grove at Cedar Point, an amusement park on Lake Erie, Sandusky, Ohio; postcard dated 1911.
"From campground to crab shack to suburban backyard, the picnic table is so ubiquitous that it is nearly invisible as a designed object. Yet this ingenious form — a structurally bolted frame that unites bench seats and table into a sturdy package — has remained largely unchanged since the 1930s. Having transcended the picnic, it is now the ideal setting for any outdoor event that compels us to face one another squarely across a shared surface. Even a conversation between the former President and Secretary of State is transformed. There is something intensely familiar about this massive table on the White House grounds; though it is off-limits to the public, we can imagine sitting there ourselves. The table seems to humanize its powerful occupants, even as it curiously diminishes them with its over-sized components. These qualities of familiarity and abundance have made the picnic table an American icon. ..."
Arthur Wigram Allen and his brother Boyce picnic in Sutton Forest, Australia, 1900.