pineapples were such a status symbol in 18th century England that you could rent one for the evening to take to a party.
The pineapple did not make it to England until the 1600s, and it became a HIT in the 1700s. Everything was made in pineapple shapes and painted with pineapples. It was THE status symbol! – If you had a pineapple under your arm in the 1700s… WELL, you were just the richest, coolest kid on the block. I am speaking literally though. People quite seriously took a pineapple to parties to show off, carrying it around for weeks until the pineapple started rot. You could even rent a pineapple for an evening.
Pineapples were expensive too. They cost about 5000 pounds each (around $8000AUD) by today’s standards – OR the cost of a new coach. You can just picture an 18th century gentleman weighing it up:
“new coach… or pineapple… hmm”.
Initially you had to grow them yourself, but this was a very difficult and expensive endeavour in an English climate. The pineapples would be grown in hot pits and boys would be payed to sit and sleep in them – just in case the pit caught on fire.