Tables are sometimes treated like the poor cousins to chairs, which have captured the imaginations of Arts and Crafts designers like the Stickley brothers, architects such as Frank Lloyd Wright, Danish Modern furniture guru Hans Wegner, and Mid-century Modernists Charles and Ray Eames. But tables deserve our respect, too. Whether they were built for decoration like the console tables of the 1600s or for purely functional use like the Shaker seed tables of the 1800s, tables are often the focal points of the rooms they occupy.
One of the first things furniture designers did after they seized upon the idea of raising a horizontal surface into the air via legs was to devise ways to reduce the size of their creations in order to save space. The surface of a tilt-top table, for example, folded vertically, so the table could be stored against a wall when not in use. Drop-leaf table surfaces were designed to be folded down against their legs, often creating a narrow rectangular table that appeared to be wearing a skirt.
Some drop-leaf tables had gate legs (also spelled as one word, “gatelegs”), which could been swung out to support the leaf when needed or collapsed against the stretchers connecting the bottoms of the legs when not. Others revealed a chair when the tabletop was tilted up and out of the way, although the resulting seat was not especially practical.
The efficiency of other tables was more obviously elegant. Side tables such as console tables were meant to be permanently situated against a wall, often between a pair of windows. Sometimes these occasional tables, as they were also called, had drawers to store household items. Side table surfaces could be rectangular, but half-circles were also popular, allowing the table to be placed flush against a wall.
Center tables, as their name suggests, were typically placed in or near the center of a room. Usually round and mounted on a single pedestal attached to a wide or footed base, center tables were favorites of the Georgian and Victorian Eras, when entertaining one’s guests meant gathering around one of these ornately carved and ornamented pieces for a rousing game of cards.
Though not as associated with storage as desks and cabinets, tables were often asked to pull their weight in this department. Hutch tables, popular in rural 18th-century America, contained hidden compartments beneath the table surface and between the wide trestles that supported it. Library tables often had a wide, horizontal stretcher between the table’s trestles or legs to keep books up off the floor and out of the way. Fancier library tables were elevated by small bookcases at either end.
Early examples of dining tables resembled the communal tables found in both monastery refectories and neighborhood pubs, perhaps the only thing those establishments had in common...
When it comes to interior design, though, no table has had a greater impact than the coffee table. Low-to-the-floor painted, carved, or inlaid tables were historically common in Asia. Coffee tables made of exotic woods, steel, glass, and even mirror were a signature of Art Deco. And after World War II, coffee tables were staples of Mid-century Modern.
Perhaps the most iconic coffee table of the 20th century was designed by artist Isamu Noguchi. His IN50 coffee table for Herman Miller, 1944, featured two interlocking curved legs that supported a thick, glass top. Early in the following decade, Charles and Ray Eames placed a narrow, black, surfboard-shaped ellipse on a pair of wire-rod bases, similar to those used in some of their chairs.
Another minimalist, albeit with a more organic orientation, was George Nakashima, whose slab tables reveled in their defects and irregularities, which the designer took pains not to correct. Other woodworkers, though, preferred their tables fully finished. Sam Maloof, for example, riffed on Shaker traditions by replacing straight lines with gentle curves and contours.
Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)
Buffalo Architecture and History
Kentucky Online Arts Resource
Other Great Reference Sites
Most watched eBay auctions
Recent News: Tables
Source: Google News
Nisqually Land Trust to Host Annual Auction and Conservation DinnerThurstonTalk, March 3rd
Auction highlights include a four-night stay at a resort-winery in Argentina, a Seattle Seahawks game-day getaway, a studio tour with local artists Nikki McClure and Jay Scott, an antique table and spindle-back chair set and a Salish Indian mask...Read more
Patricia Arquette is not the enemyMetroNews Canada, February 26th
My mother used to say, “This is why we can't have nice things” after I'd done something stupid like putting a wet cup on an antique table — leaving a ring, wrecking the table. I was reminded of this phrase the day after the Oscars as social media...Read more
Yard sales for Saturday Feb. 21WECT-TV6, February 21st
Here you will find collectable items, porcelain dolls, baby clothes, radius arm saw weight, machine antique table saw, gun cabinet, and trampoline and much more. Click here if you would like to send information on your yard sale Or email Kim Ratcliff...Read more
Painted table to be auctioned to pay for stray dog's vet billsThe New Orleans Advocate, February 18th
Photo provided by Kathleen DesHotel - An antique table had been painted with a hibiscus by Kathleen DesHotel to raffle off to pay the cost of veterinary care for an injured stray dog and her puppy...Read more
Presidential Lost & FoundFine Books & Collections Magazine (blog), February 16th
Masur mentions one -- in 1984, Lincoln's last address was found in the secret compartment of an antique table in Long Island. Malcolm Forbes then bought it at auction for $231,000. An amazing find, completely unknown to the consignors, but obviously ...Read more
Yard sales for Saturday Feb. 14WECT-TV6, February 14th
4847 Coastal Dr. Southport. There will be collectable Items, porcelain dolls, baby clothes, radius arm saw, weight machine, antique table saw, gun cabinet, trampoline and much more. 2. 94-35 Cottonwood Lane in Leland. This is from 7:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m...Read more
Gourmet to-go at Katharine & Co.'s new West End spotBeaumont Enterprise (blog), February 8th
While the small space is not intended as a dine-in spot, a cerulean blue velvet couch with a vintage table inside and a smattering of small tables with chairs outside will tempt customers to linger for a spell, maybe with an expertly prepared Illy...Read more
Antique Table Trattoria Combines Atmosphere and Good Italian FoodWinthrop Transcript, November 18th
Executive chef and co-owner Abraham Gallego along with owners Carlos Soto and Mario Perez,has brought his award-winning culinary talents to the town following up on the success of the Antique Table restaurant in Lynn that opened in 2009...Read more