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Bespoke Furniture Just Got More Interesting – Tables Through The Times

By Author: Lou McDonald
Total Articles: 4

Types of Tables

Generally, tables can be divided into two types, fixed or mechanical. From a manufacturing/craftsmanship point of view the fixed tables are easier to make. A fixed table consists of a square or round top with one or more legs.
A fixed table with three legs will provide more reliable support than a single legged table however when an uneven pressure is applied from above the table may become unstable.

A mechanical table features a top that can be enlarged or reduced to accommodate needs. These table types may require collapsible or pivotable legs to augment the strength of the top. These are often more difficult to manage ad require a great deal of accuracy and skill. One common system used is the Dutch system, which was created in the 17th Century.
Tables through Time

Starting in Egypt c.2700 bc round stone tables with low pedestal legs were a common/popular design, tables of normal height were also seen during this period. The most popular material was wood.


Moving forward on to Ancient Greece saw crude wooden tables with architectonic molding which have been preserved. It has also been discovered that tables were made of bronze as well as wood.


From the ruins of Pompeii and Herculaneum during the Roman dynasty saw table supports made of marble decorated with relief work as well as folding metal tables, unfortunately all wooden furniture was lost. Roman tables were elaborate with legs carved in the shape of animal, sphinxes or grotesque figures. Woods with decorative grains were used for tops with bronzed tripod legs.


Some wooden topped communion tables, dated to the early Middle Ages, can be found in Churches. Typically, these tables rest on solid masonry or a stone socle, alternatively they can be supported by several columns. The communion tables are most commonly made out of stone and are higher than the average table.


Circular tables were intended for occasional use, and one well known round table is the round table in which King Arthur and his knights congregated.


Few wooden tables have been preserved from the late Middle Ages, and therefore know that their tables generally consisted of long narrow tops fastened to side members.

Tables with attached legs, joined by heavy stretchers fixed close to the floor appeared in the 15th Century. They were of fixed size and heavy to move. In the 16th Century a device was created known as a draw top and this enabled the table to double its length.


Tables of the Renaissance and Baroque periods were designed with thick and heavy tops sitting on an underframe with bulster shaped/turned legs with carved bulbous decorations.

17th Century onwards saw tables made for a variety of purposes for instance as dining tables, card tables, small candle stick tables etc.


The Elizabethan draw table was supported on four vase shaped legs terminating in Ionic capitals. Tables of conspicuous opulence became popular in the late 17th Century and mid-18th Century and were often made in Italy. They featured patterns of marquetry or rare marbles.


Contact with the East was increased in the 18th Century and this saw an increase in the demand for lacquered tables. Chinese tables were often completely covered with lacquer and gilt ornamentation, but sometimes the wood was left in its natural colour.


During the 18th century England was a leader in the design of ingenious folding tables, especially card tables. While all four legs can be folded up within the frame enclosing the top in modern card tables, older systems included folding tops that when opened is supported by a leg that swings out like a gate. Another popular system enabled the square top to be extended to a rectangular top, these sides were divided by hinges.


Exploitation of man-made materials in the second half of the 20th Century produced tables of such materials as plastic, metal, fibreglass and even corrugated cardboard. Many modern tables incorporate glass and stainless steel.


Bespoke furniture has been an option many people have been choosing for many years and still remains a popular choice today.
Resource Box: BIMECO Projects is a well-established and experienced consultancy and bespoke fabrication design company based in Wolverhampton. Our services include the design, manufacture and installation of staircases, balustrades, bespoke furniture, sound reduction enclosures, stainless steel furniture, and conveyors. Our services extend to the residential properties, as well as pharmaceutical companies, food manufacturers and shopfitters.

You can email us at info@bimeco-projects.com or call us on +44(0)1902 471278.

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