Weird Decor: What is a Bundling Board?

Weird Decor: What is a Bundling Board?

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Jennifer Hunter
Jan 26, 2015

Pillow talk is nothing new, but if you're a Puritan parent and your daughter has a suitor, just how do you allow the young couple to achieve the emotional intimacy of sharing a bed without encouraging any funny business out of wedlock? It's really just a matter of adding an extra bed accessory: the bundling board.

Although not 100% guaranteed (it was possible to jump the board after all), the board — meant to be placed down the middle of a double bed — was a physical barrier to remind the youngsters of their societal obligations to wait, while keeping toasty under the blankets (and saving firewood).

Bundling boards are thought to have originated in Northern Europe, but now are usually associated with the Puritans of the American Colonies. It was a way for young men and women to have some alone time, in an era when that was very scarce for everyone, not just courting couples. After all, most large Puritan families lived in very small, simple homes, so it's likely that "date night" consisted of dinner and bible study with the siblings.

Consider that the 17th and even 18th centuries were a period without excessive emphasis on emotional bonding before marriage, so it must have been nice for these couples to get a chance to talk through the night before agreeing to the match.

And, it turns out, the bundling board was useful for any kind of bed sharing that was necessary. There are plenty of historical mentions of bundling boards used in inns where strangers might share a bed or even in private homes when a traveler needed a place to sleep. At the very least, it would have prevented kicking your bed-mate during the night. Handy!

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