It is difficult to say exactly when porch swings came into vogue in America. But one thing is for sure- they have a hallowed and valued place in American culture.
Some historians believe the porch first rose to prominence in colonial times in the United States. They were certainly noticed, as it was the upper class that usually had them. It was during the early part of the 19th century, however, that porches became woven into the American social fabric.
As quality housing became more and more widely available to the average American during the Industrial Revolution, the size of the average house got larger. This change led to the inclusion of a covered entry way to a home - that evolved into a porch.
Taking a cue from upper class Victorian homes, which featured covered verandas that sometimes stretched around the entire perimeter of a house, middle class homes incorporated the idea of a covered outer extension. Similar architectural features were also known as a "Portico," "piazza," and "loggia," though those terms were used mainly in Europe. Those words came to America with the influx of immigrants during the 1800s. "Porch" is actually a variation of "portico."
The covered extension of the home was usually near the front door. Residents could sit outside and enjoy the weather and each other's company. This also let people observe the goings-on of their community, or just simply enjoy nature. Because of the growth of industry coupled with manifest destiny, many people feared expansion and development would remove the natural aspects of life. In response, people wished to retain some identity with the land.
Also, because of industrialization, average people had more leisure time than their agrarian predecessors who were constantly working for survival. Seating on the porch was used, but it is not evident when the first porch swings were put into use.
At first, porch swings were rudimentary- starting as sofa frames. A forward-thinking furniture maker took an unfinished frame and hung it with rope or chain on their porch, and thus, the porch swing was born! When porches became a fixture on homes, there were plenty of ways to hang a swing. There was strong steel for chains and bolts to support the weight of two or three people.
As time progressed, the idea of a porch swing became more and more popular. Makers experimented with other shapes, materials, and designs. Now, porch swings have contours for the seat and for the back. Some have creative and fanciful designs. Still others use a combination of wood and iron.
Porch swings have become a treasured part of the American culture. However, since the beginning of the baby boom after World War II, porches increasingly declined in everyday importance. Largely due to the growth of suburbs and the use of the automobile, the porch became less used. Outdoor relaxation and gathering moved to the back yard in more and more homes over the years.
Installing a porch swing on a patio usually needs a stand to suspend it. An easier way to create relaxing motion for two or more people was a glider. In a sense, the porch swing evolved into a glider. Outdoor gliders are like porch swings in that they have a long seat, a back rest and arm rests. They sit in a frame that lifts them off the ground and they swing on arms or on an axle.
In the last decade and a half or so, porches have taken on an architectural resurgence. For example, in the community of Seaside in Florida, building codes required every home have a front porch. This was to encourage more interaction between the residents. People have rediscovered the benefits of relaxing in the front of their homes and with a porch swing. They have realized how the front porch keeps them in touch with their neighborhood. Finding quality porch swings that beautify your porch or patio is easy shopping here at PorchSwings.com.