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May 9, 2022

Vintage Snapshots of People Having a Picnic From the Mid-20th Century

The word ‘picnic’ comes from the French word ‘pique-nique’, whose earliest usage in print is in the 1692 edition of Tony Willis, Origines de la Langue Française, which mentions pique-nique as being of recent origin. The term was used to describe a group of people dining in a restaurant who brought their own wine. The concept of a picnic long retained the connotation of a meal to which everyone contributed something.

The French Revolution popularized the picnic across the world. French aristocrats fled to other Western countries, bringing their picnicking traditions with them. After the Revolution, French people of all classes visited and mingled in the country's royal parks. Picnicking transformed from an upper class luxury to a cheap way to spend an afternoon with friends.

Here is a set of vintage photos from Vintage Cars & People that shows how people had their picnics in the past.

A company of three enjoying a picnic in the countryside. The ladies are wearing white summer dresses, the chap is dressed in a single-breasted suit, May 1931

A stylish couple enjoying a picnic on a windy day in the Scottish Highlands near Buachaille Etive Mòr mountain, circa 1932

Four fashionable ladies enjoying a picnic in the countryside next to a Peugeot 201, registered in the French département of Nord, July 10, 1932

A family of three enjoying a picnic in the countryside. A 1933 Pontiac Eight Coupe can be seen in the background, 1935

A lady dressed in a white blouse and tie and her two sons enjoying a picnic in the countryside. A BMW 3/20 PS Cabriolet can be seen behind them, circa 1935

A young lady raising her glass in a meadow in the countryside. The drink is Berliner Weisse, a beer usually served with flavored syrups, 1935

Two stylish young ladies and a fellow enjoying a picnic in the countryside. An Opel 1,8 Liter is registered in the Saxon district of Dresden can be seen in the background, circa 1935

A company of seven (including the photographer) enjoying a picnic in the countryside. One of the cars is registered in the Saxon district of Zwickau, circa 1936

A middle-aged fellow in a suit and tie posing at a picnic table in the countryside. The Simca 5 is registered in the French département of Rhône, circa 1938

A young lady in a polka dot dress enjoying a picnic in the woods. A Hanomag Rekord can be seen in the background, August 1938

A young woman in a white blouse and a dark skirt seductively lying on a picnic blanket. A Renault Celtaquatre can be seen In the background, circa 1938

Two ladies, probably mother and daughter, enjoying a picnic in the countryside. A shabby-looking 1930s convertible can be seen in the background. The car is registered in the French département of Ain, circa 1948

A lady preparing a roadside picnic next to a Fiat 1100 on a mountain road. The car has post-war Austrian licence plates from the state of Lower Austria, circa 1950

A lady in a white dress posing at a picnic table with a 1950 Chevrolet Fleetline DeLuxe. Two cans of beer and a soft drink bottle are standing on the table. In the background, a lake or ocean can be seen, circa 1952

A mother and her daughter enjoying a roadside picnic in the countryside. A German-built Ford Taunus 12 M can be seen parked behind them, 1954

A mother and her children enjoying a picnic in the countryside. An Austin A40 Devon can be seen inside the car's boot. The car is registered in the Canadian province of Ontario, circa 1955

Two cheerful ladies and a bald fellow in a suit enjoying a picnic in the countryside. A Mercedes 170 V can be seen in the background, circa 1955

Two stylish ladies, possibly mother and daughter, posing on a picnic table in the countryside. A hardtop coupe, probably a 1952 Pontiac Catalina, can be seen parked in the background, circa 1955

A lady sitting at a picnic table under chestnut trees in late afternoon sunshine. A Steyr-Puch 500 DL, equipped with a roof rack and laden with camping gear is parked next to the table, registered in the city of Vienna, circa 1960






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