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End Tables - From The Egyptians On

Nov 25, 2007
When you kick back at the end of the day and pop your drink down on that end table of yours as you turn on the TV to see what's on, you may be in a posture much like King Tut or Cleopatra. It turns out end tables and other table forms go back that far, or further.

While King Tut had a lot of servants, and likely could have had people stand there holding anything he wanted held, even he wanted a surface of his own to put things on. The original end tables, made back in Egyptian times, weren't what we think of today for end tables. They were pieces of stone stacked to create a flat surface where one could put food or other items. But they did the job. When you wanted to put something down, there was a flat counter to put it on without calling on someone to stand there and hold it.

It seems the Romans also understood the importance of a platform upon which to place things. They created end tables out of stone, as well, although theirs were a little more defined and looked more like altars. It also seems the Romans had more of an interest in lounging at the table than sitting at the table. Their tables were formed much lower than modern day end tables, at a height that would be appropriate if you were lounging back on a couch while placing and retrieving items from the tabletop.

Wood tables came into popularity in the medieval era. They understood the idea of using wood as an eating surface. It was much easier to move than stone, and the wood was readily available. Carpenters of the time created large wooden tables with strong, solid legs to take on the role.

As end tables and other tables continued through history, they came to the new world. Frontier tables and end tables were a far cry from the solid stone pieces that were created in Egyptian and Roman times and the solid wood ones made in the medieval years. No, in the west, you used what you could. Often a table was created out of a flat board being set on top of whatever they could find to balance it. It could be a couple of barrels, some wood blocks, or whatever they could make from the nearby supplies.

Since then tables have gone through many growths and transformations into the endless variety of them that we see on the market today. There are always new kinds being created, like modern and contemporary tables that are as much art as furniture. Additionally, many like the idea of repeating history and are purchasing tables that are being made as reproductions of those pieces of centuries past. There are also now tables for specific uses that never used to exist, from dressing tables to drafting tables.

One thing is for sure, while the world of tables is constantly changing, the need for them will not.
About the Author
Jesse Akre, owner of numerous niche sites, provides advice to the everyday consumer when purchasing lovely end tables, oak end tables, and antique wood end tables.
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