Pineapples originated in South America, but once they were “discovered” by Christopher Columbus in 1493, the fruit made its way to Europe and became an instant hit. By the 17th century, this sweet fruit made its way to America – and design enthusiasts are grateful that it did! What started out as a delicious piece of fruit eventually became a stylish symbol for hospitality in people’s homes.
In early America, colonists had to import pineapples from the Caribbean and this made the fruit a rare commodity. Those who were lucky – or wealthy enough – to get a pineapple would show it off and use it to adorn their dining table. Since this fruit was so hard to come by, people who were visiting saw a pineapple centerpiece as a compliment and a welcoming gesture. The popular fruit then became symbolic and was more than just a tasty treat. It became a sign of neighborliness and was used to show friendliness toward guests.
It didn’t take long before pineapples moved from the dining table and started showing up in one’s interior design. People would welcome guests into their home with pineapples featured in light fixtures, doors, shutters, bedposts and even wallpaper!