Wednesday, September 28, 2022


Do not take your picnic table for granted

For most of us, a picnic table is simply something that comes with the campsite we choose for the night. It’s just there, and we give no more thought to it than that.

But, like all things, the picnic table has a history. Probably the most interesting thing about the picnic table is that it is largely unchanged since its present design was established about 80 years ago.

The picnic table evolved from the “blanket,” which was used in the 1800s and earlier to mark a picnic site — a domestication of the ground surface. Spontaneously laying down the blanket was the first act of claiming the picnic site before any of the supplies were unpacked or the occupants seated. It was the spot. The gesture was temporary; when the meal was over, the blanket was removed, shaken free of crumbs, and returned to the provisions basket — one last ritual before the party ended.

In the late 1800s, some entertaining recreationalists began experimenting with making a table as portable as the basket and blanket. Eventually, the tables were built as permanent structures in what were called “picnic groves.”

But along the way, the design was modified into its present form in about 1930. As you can see in the cartoon from 1928, early designs did not always work properly. Note the straight legs as opposed the slanted ones that came later.

This information comes from an article called “An Illustrated History of the Picnic Table.” Take a few minutes to read it. It’s fascinating.



Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
1 year ago


Last edited 1 year ago by Impavid
Robert Charleston
1 year ago

My wife and I spent a year aboard our Pleasure Way Class B van touring the US and Canada. We came across many picnic tables. The basic design was similar but there were many different variations. Check out the video I made.

Tommy Molnar
1 year ago

I watched your video. Nice, pleasant walk through picnic bench land. You’ve found some ‘doozies’.

Billy Bob Thorton
2 years ago

Well, if you are from the city, suburbia, or really never have smelled the scents of the great outdoors, then that is heaven to you. We live in the best time, with cheap food, plenty of fossil fuel to burn to get to our “heaven”. Just enjoy and don’t forget who got us there.

1 year ago


2 years ago

I’m amazed by how many people pay big dollars for a campsite that only offers a picnic table and a fire ring.

Tommy Molnar
1 year ago
Reply to  Robbie

And you don’t always get even THAT!

Sign up for the RVtravel Newsletter

Your information will *never* be shared or sold to a 3rd party.

Subscribe to our newsletter

Every Saturday and Sunday morning. Serving RVers for more than 20 years.