History of Swinging

I thought it would be fitting to interrupt the normal content for a history lesson! Since the buzz around here centers on swing sets in all different forms, it would perhaps be interesting, even enlightening, to learn about where they came from and why we have them at all.

While it is impossible to determine when the first person tied a seat to a rope and swung themselves around like a pendulum (especially since we have images of swings and riders on pottery from Ancient Greece), we can learn a little about their development as America’s most recognized piece of playground equipment.

We know that by the time of the American Revolution, kids had developed the art of hanging rope and wood plank swings from their trees to get their daily dose of adrenaline. Most agree that the concept of swinging is the natural byproduct of kids having fun on barn ropes and pulleys. These moved out to the swimming hole where a well placed rope in an overhanging tree was enough to keep the kids busy for hours. As families made their way across the American prairies (where trees were sparse), swing sets made of wood became a popular way for frontier children to pass the time. Most agree that the concept of swinging is the natural byproduct of kids having fun on barn ropes and pulleys. These moved out to the swimming hole where a well placed rope in an overhanging tree was enough to keep the kids busy for hours.

The Industrial Revolution of the late 19th and early 20th centuries led to increased urbanization among the working classes and, thus, a loss of extensive personal property. Kids had nowhere to roam and play like they used to. Therefore, the playset was birthed. Kids who had no natural foliage to climb or hills to scale, turned to their industrial imitations. As a result, a new industry was born. In 1912, the University of Virginia sponsored a teachers’ program that brought about the first complete playground and swingset package. The kids loved it, so the university made the plans public for other schools to build their own. By, at least, the late 1940s, companies such as Creative Playthings were mass producing wooden swingsets designed for the average home. Backyard swingsets and other play equipment literally exploded onto the market as returning WWII vets birthed a suburban Boomer generation. Swingsets, along with slides, seesaws, and jungle gyms (or “monkey bars” as they would later be called) became the standard means of childhood expression, and icons for generations of schoolchildren to come.

Author Bio: Ethan S. writes on behalf of Design55, a UK-based designer furniture shop that has plenty of great outdoor furniture sets for kids and parents alike!


Porch Swings Are Making a Comeback

A gentle breeze, chirping birds and the smell of fresh flowers–nothing captures the pleasure of relaxing outdoors better than gently swaying back and forth on a porch swing. Dating back to the Victorian era, when porches first became a prominent architectural feature, porch swings are now regaining popularity as couples and families alike are deciding to spend more time outdoors. Kids who play outside are more likely to engage in healthy physical sports as they grow up; such as volleyball, martial arts classes, and tennis.
Adirondacks, loveseats, framed or simply hung from your porch ceiling–there are now so many porch swing styles and materials to choose from that you’re certain to find one that’s perfect for you. Relaxing, lovely to look at and reasonably priced, here are a few of the many wonderful options for you to consider.

Metal Porch Swings

Visually stunning, comfortable and sturdy, metal swings provide an elegant option for your porch. Metal porch swings are available in a variety of intricate styles created by delicately manipulating the swing’s metalwork. The result can be lovely latticework, scrolled accents and other intricate designs that are certain to provide added beauty to your home.

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Wicker Porch Swings

The timeless elegance of wicker is reminiscent of a classic southern style veranda. Wicker porch swings look lovely in their natural color, or can be painted to match your color scheme. You can even jazz things up by adding a bright pillow or two. Keep in mind that wicker describes the weave and is not the name of a material. While wicker is often created from plants like cane and rattan, synthetics such as plastic can also be utilized and are typically more durable.

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Canopy Swings

If your porch or balcony doesn’t have a roof, a canopy swing is the perfect answer to hot, sunny days. Attached to a frame, they are easily moved as necessary and can even sit in your garden or yard.

Rope Swings

Doze the day away in the comfort of a rope porch swing. Rope swings provide the informal look and comfort of a hammock with the style of a swing. Typically manufactured using cotton or polyester, rope porch swings allow you to recline or nap vertically rather than horizontally as you would in a hammock.

Wooden Porch Swings

There’s nothing like the natural splendor of wood. Cypress porch swings are considered the most resistant to harsh weather; pine swings each have their own unique designs created by natural knots in the wood; teak offers an exotic option, while white and red cedar is known for its natural beauty.


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Recycled Plastic Swings

You can appreciate the environment and help it at the same time by choosing a recycled plastic porch swing. They are usually made from items like milk and juice jugs that are cleaned and molded into a product known as poly-lumber. Like regular lumber, it acts like wood and can be cut, drilled or screwed into a number of attractive porch swing styles.

Gliders

There’s nothing quite like the calming motion of a glider porch swing to calm frayed nerves. Moving forward and back on a flat surface, the gentle sway of a glider provides a soothing motion that’s perfect for mothers with infants and young children. Add some pillows and you’ll be certain to experience the ultimate in outdoor comfort.

While spending your afternoons relaxing in a porch swing may be an enjoyable pastime, swings can also improve circulation, relieve stress, decrease heart and respiration rates and improve concentration. Porch swings can offer a place for peaceful contemplation, or can help you re-connect with someone you love. Adding both an aesthetic quality to your outdoor living space and a sense of calm to your spirit, a porch swing can be one of the wisest home furnishing purchases you make.

A creator of outdoor-scapes in her spare time, Jessica Hayden teaches children the art of self-defense, and believes all kids can benefit from the discipline and confidence it gives them. Jessica enjoys studying mixed martial arts. She also is a content contributor for Hertao.


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