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Tables and Their Histories

Aug 17, 2007
Usually the oak woods were used to make the dining tables earlier. They were, round, oval or long in shapes and sizes. Different types of woods were used for different types of styles for making the antique furniture that we could see today.

Dining Tables
The first dining tables of which survivors remain are the type known as refectory tables. They are made usually of oak, and one of the earliest, at Pens Hurst Place in Kent, has a typical thick top of joined planks supported on three separate trestles. Later, came a lower part in one piece with heavy legs united by stretchers at their bases and rails at the tops. The Elizabethan dining table, also of oak and constructed in this manner, was often carved and inlaid, the legs being turned into strikingly large bulbous swellings, An alternative type at this period was the draw table, which extended by means of leaves at either end sliding in and out from below the principal top.

Refectory tables stayed in use throughout most of the seventeenth century, but towards 1680 came large circular tables on gate-leg supports. Many of these are four feet or more in diameter and it seems probable that their use was for dining.

Mahogany dining tables survive in large numbers, and are of many types. Early ones, of about 1740, have falling side-flaps supported by swinging outwards the hinged legs; others are in sections and become as many as four separate tables when taken apart.

Late in the eighteenth century came the type with each section supported on a central pillar with splayed legs and brass-capped toes; a type that is very popular today for the practical reason that the legs are out of the way of the diners.

It is a piece of furniture on which china or silver was displayed. In the seventeenth century it was a long table drawers, usually rose on legs, and made generally of oak. In the eighteenth century came the fashion of fitting a superstructure of shelves, sometimes with small cupboards at both end, and these are often called Welsh dressers. Rare examples are made of yew wood.

Dumb Waiters
A set of revolving trays of different sizes supported on a central pillar, and used beside the dining table. Eighteenth-century mahogany examples had circular trays and tripod bases, some nineteenth-century rosewood ones were oblong and had four-legged supports.

Foot Stools
These came into use at the end of the eighteenth century, and continued to be popular from then onwards. The upholstered tops were often covered in needlework.

Gate-leg Tables
These tables, which have the distinctive feature of a gate-like hinged leg to support the top flap, have been made continuously in one form or another from at least the seventeenth century until today. The earliest were made of oak and are rare, but those of the middle and later years of the seventeenth century can be found sometimes. They vary in size from a large dining table some seven feet in length to small tea tables about three feet in diameter.

In most instances the supports are turned. Somewhat similar tables were made also of walnut, but these are scarce. Small mahogany gate-leg tables are often of a type known as 'spider leg1, because of their thin supports. Many gate-leg tables were made in Victorian times, when this method of construction was very popular.

Gout Stools
Stools that have adjustment to raise or lower their tops were made from about 1790 for the relief of sufferers from gout. Another pattern, of 'X'-shaped construction, with thick padding, was made at about the same date.

The more you know about the furniture and its rich history the more you would be giving interest in the details of the furniture world. And the better the idea, the more care you would be taking about the antique furniture.
About the Author
Mitch Johnson is a regular writer for http://www.kitchen-plans-n-designs.com/ , http://www.collectablesmadeez.info/ , http://www.mycollectablestips.info/
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