O, The Antique Table

Tables are the oldest form of furniture used in society other than the chair. Tables are one of the most versatile pieces of furniture with styles ranging from the most delicate designs to the most massive pieces. They are often key specimens of a certain era, particular style, material and noted by a certain furniture designer, like Gibbard.

Small tables were used for serving food and entertaining. Some were used for decorating bare walls, which has been in fashion for centuries. While they’ve changed over time in their form and function with varying styles and practices going in and out of vogue, these tables still serve their purpose today.

There are numerous types of antique tables that everyday shoppers and collectors are likely to encounter and some of these forms may date back centuries. Most types remain common today and if you’re lucky, you can find them both in antique and modern versions. Today, we are going to look at two, the Butler and the Pie Crust table.

Butler Tablebutler table

 This table developed in England in the mid 1700s and consisted of a tray atop a folding stand. The earliest models were made with two X-frames, but later styles consisted of four legs, often joined by an X-frame. The tray is a rectangular form with a fixed gallery that hold items within the lipped frame on the table. The most familiar Chippendale style may have a rectangular center with two hinged sides that can be extended to form an oval form.  Both styles have slots on the trays sides that function as handholds.

The butler’s table began as a two-piece item of furniture that was typically light in weight and portable. It was developed in the 18th century and early 20th century; it became part of the Colonial Revival style. The manufacturers of the time changed the design with the tray affixed to the stand or four-legged base. By knowing the difference in this detail, you will be able to date your own butler’s table.

Pie Crust Tablepiecrust table

 Pie Crust tables were developed in the 18th century in England and typically used for serving tea or coffee. This table is typical of a pedestal table usually standing on three legs with a round scalloped edge that is trimmed and raised and looks like the crimped rim of a pie crust. The edging is styled in both a carved or molded design and the top often tilts up that makes it easy for storing against a wall or often used as an accent piece in many home décor designs.

They come in many variations, from the simple design of one type of wood, which is usually mahogany, to the more elaborate designs with inlays of alternating woods, such as walnut or another variation tone of mahogany. You can find them with either wood claw feet or brass tipped claw feet.  Either way adds to beauty and charm of their look.

The most valuable antique pie crust tables were produced by noted furniture designers, such as Thomas Chippendale, George Hunzinger, John Goddard Newport and Garvan Carver. In October 2007, a Fisher-Fox pie crust tea table, attributed to Garvan Carver, circa 1850, was sold at Christie’s, New York, for $6.7 million. (reference: just collecting.com)

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