In the times of the great seafarers and explorers, the hammock was an indispensable travel necessity, and was often used as a protective bed. Early hammocks were made from the bark from the hamack tree, which is where the word “hammock” originates. Hammocks were often used as beds to guard against disease transmission and animal bites. Because the hammocks were suspended above the ground, inhabitants were protected from harmful creatures that carried diseases. Today, hammocks don’t necessarily symbolize protection. Rather, they represent relaxation, serenity, and comfort. After owning a hammock, many people learn that there aren’t many things better than stretching out in a luxurious hammock for a summer nap by the pool or to read a good book.
Nearly all sources mention Christopher Columbus in the discovery of the hammock. However, the hammock actually dates back more than 1,000 years ago to Central America, far before Columbus was alive. As mentioned above, the hammock was used as a form of protection against harmful creatures on the ground. Christopher Columbus was introduced to the hamaca (hammock) during his travels at the end of the 15th Century by the Taino Indians, a Haitian tribe, in which he brought a variety of hammocks to Europe where they gained appeal. During this time, European weavers began crafting hammocks out of cotton, canvas, and other cloths, as well as sending these materials to weave hammocks in the New World. By the mid 16th century in many parts of the world, the hammock was used as an alternative to the traditional bed. The U.S. military even turned to hammocks for sleeping when away from home. Hammocks quickly gained widespread appeal by both the wealthy and the underprivileged, and by the end of the 19th century, the first mass producer of hammocks opened in Pawley’s Island, South Carolina.
Today, we have expanded on the traditional hammock with improvements to design, materials, and comfort. Some hammocks are still used for insect protection with the addition of enclosed nets, and some are simply used as a luxurious relaxation portal. Hammocks today represent a luxury for many, but it can’t be taken for granted that the hammock is one of the oldest pieces of furniture in the history of mankind.