See This Flexible Bench on Your Neighbor’s Porch? Here’s What It Is.

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These rocking benches have a rich history in South Carolina.

If you’ve spent time in South Carolina, you may have noticed long benches on the porches of many homes. This distinctive feature is called a “joggling board,” and it’s not just for decoration — it has a purpose. Also, have you noticed that some Southern homes have a separate front door for the porch?

What Is a Joggling Board?

The word “joggle” means to shake slightly or move to and fro. That’s just what this board does.

The bench is a long, pliable piece of wood supported on each end by wood stands. It’s made with Southern pine, a wood that’s sturdy yet flexible and perfect for building this Southern staple.

The joggling board dates back to 1804, when Cleland Kinloch of South Carolina asked his widowed sister, Mary Kinloch Huger, to come live with him and look after the household.

Because Mary suffered from rheumatism, she couldn’t take carriage rides, and often complained about it to her family back in Scotland. The family sent over plans for a joggling board so she could feel like she was in a carriage and get some pain-free exercise.

The board became far more popular than anticipated. During the 19th century, it became a staple on Southern front porches.

Another thing you’ll see frequently on Southern porches is a blue ceiling. The color choice, usually ranging from a light blue to a greenish-blue, dates back centuries and has a unique history as well.

This Bench Has a Secret Meaning, Too

Joggling boards look great and are super comfortable, but that’s not all. Many people believed that if your front porch had a joggling board, all the daughters in the house would marry. This might be because the boards were also called “courting benches,” so named because young couples who sat at either end would slowly slide to the center!

If someone invites you to sit with them on their joggling board, it may also be considered an invitation for friendship. There’s nothing these benches can’t do.

Where to Find a Joggling Board for Sale

Joggling boards are definitely coming back, thanks to their rich history and functionality. If you’re looking to buy one, swing by the Joggle Factory or take a peek on Etsy. The Old Charleston Joggling Board Co. offers a wide range of boards and parts to choose from, along with more interesting historical information about the furniture.

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Amrita Thakkar
Amrita is an Assistant Digital Editor at Taste of Home. As a writer and amateur photographer, she often ends up applying these skills to her one great love: food. She can usually be found researching global cuisines, at the farmers market, doing yoga, or looking up new places to travel to.