History of the Pineapple – Sturbridge Through the Years

The pineapple – tough on the outside, terrifically delicious on the inside.  We all know how wonderful pineapples taste, but do you know the history behind this fancy fruit?

King Charles II Posing with PineappleIt has long been understood that Christopher Columbus made the first European connection with the pineapple plant.  At that time, fresh fruit was a rare commodity (exotic fruit doubly so) and the pineapple quickly became a celebrity of royal gourmet and horticulturists. For many years, the pineapple continued to remain a coveted commodity that was cherished for its rarity. To aid in their access to this rare fruit, the Europeans tried to produce their own pineapple plants.  Unfortunately, due to the harsh seasons, their efforts were mostly fruitless.  Because of the difficulty in cultivating pineapples, the ability to obtain one continued to be viewed as a significant symbol of prosperity and royalty.   In fact, it was so uncommon to have possession of a pineapple that King Charles II himself posed for a portrait that truly attests to his royal status: receiving a pineapple as a gift.  A royal gift, indeed.

1970's Sturbridge Yankee Workshop Catalog Reproduction of Original SYW Shop Welcome Sign

Across the sea in Colonial America, the pineapple was brought home by sailors returning to New England from far away ports.  A fresh pineapple proudly displayed on the porch was a symbol that the home was ready to welcome visitors once again.  It is no surprise that this imagery of hospitality is still in use today.  Take a look around and you will easily find pineapples in architectural design, on welcome signs, in home décor, and as a crowning piece to large displays of food.

Since our beginning in 1953, Sturbridge Yankee Workshop has been utilizing the pineapple symbol in many of our products throughout the years.  For example, this welcome sign (shown to the right) from the 1971 catalog is an exact replica of the one that was hanging outside of the Sturbridge Yankee Workshop door in Sturbridge, MA for many years.

1999 Sturbridge Yankee Workshop Welcome Sign

1999 Sturbridge Yankee Workshop Catalog Pineapple Welcome Sign

In 1999, the image style was modified but the symbolism remains in this pineapple welcome sign (shown to the left). Zoom forward to present day, and Sturbridge Yankee Workshop features this Welcome Friends Pineapple Flag that continues to convey hospitality to all guests who enter your home.

Looking for other pineapple themed products? Look no further!  Sturbridge Yankee Workshop proudly provides many items that fit your style.  From Pineapple Night Lights, hand hooked wool Pineapple Pillows, and colonial inspired pieces like our Pineapple Lamp Finial and Pineapple Fan Pull,  the pineapple remains the perfect way to welcome guests into your home.

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