History of the Joggling Board

Where Did These Things Come From?

Jog-gle : ‘to shake slightly; move to and fro, as by repeated jerks; a joint between two pieces of building material formed by a notch and a fitted projection.’

The original building plans for the joggling board were sent to the Lowcountry in the early 1800s from Scotland.

The legend began in Sumter, S.C., in 1803 at the Acton Plantation. The owner, Cleland Kinlock, invited his sister, Mary Huger, to help care for the household chores following the death of his wife. While living at the plantation, Mary developed severe rheumatism, a medical joint condition, and was unable to enjoy her once beloved passion of carriage rides. Mary sent a letter to her family in Scotland describing her state of health. In response, the family sent building plans for a joggling board, which could provide small amounts of exercise and gently simulate the option of a carriage ride. The plantation’s carpenter used the plans to construct the first American joggling board, which took its place on the porch of the Acton Plantation.

Prized equally for the relaxing sensation of its gentle movement in addition to its versatility and mobility, the joggling board’s popularity grew in the mid-1850s and spread rapidly, with many a Southern home boasting a joggling board on the front porch. Since those days, offering guests a seat on the family’s joggling board has been considered an invitation for friendship.

The term “courting benches” was also established in the 19th century.   According to legend, if you had a joggling board on your front porch, you would never have an unwed daughter. Young couples would sit on the wood bench and “joggle”. A joggle is created from the rockers cut into the stands and the large span between each rocker. The male would sit on one side of the bench, while the female would sit on the other. Each would “joggle”, guiding themselves to the middle. Once reaching the center, they would engage in an intimate moment or simply enjoy easy conversation.

Historically, joggling boards have always been painted the iconic deep black-green color known as Charleston Green. While the origin of how this color came to be is debated, the most popular theory is that after the American Civil War ended, the Union sent buckets of plain black, government-issued paint down to Charleston to help cover up what war had done to the city. The Charlestonians found the Yankee black paint to be insulting and decided to add yellow (or Rebel Yellow as they called it) resulting in a black color with a hint of green in the perfect sunlight. The Joggle Factory holds this traditional color in all products produced.