Did you know that the earliest known tables weren’t meant for dining? This furniture was first built by the ancient Egyptians to display art or support popular tabletop games like Twenty Squares or Hounds and Jackals. It wasn’t until the ancient Greeks started serving meals at tables that humanity made the switch to dining on these furnishings. Read on to learn three more facts you didn’t know about the history of tables!
Table Materials Through the Ages
The ancient Egyptians were known for their exquisite craftsmanship and love for art. They primarily used stone and alabaster to construct tables. These materials were abundant around the empire and allowed for intricate carvings and designs.
Traveling east, we come across ancient China, where the people also favored stone for table construction. However, they took their craftsmanship one step further by introducing exotic woods into their furniture-making techniques. The use of rosewood and purple sandalwood, known for their rich color and grain, became prevalent.
Moving forward in time, the Greeks and Romans demonstrated their preference for marble and metal when building tables. Marble was a symbol of wealth and power, so masons often used it in elaborate dining tables. Metal was common for smaller, more portable designs.
What’s The Deal With LongTables?
Refectory tables, the banquet-serving furniture pieces of 17th-century Europe, were a marvel of design and functionality. They were long and often crafted from hardwood like oak. These tables could accommodate large gatherings and were originally used in monasteries and convents for communal dining. Their popularity quickly spread to the homes of the wealthy and influential across Europe.
The design of these tables was revolutionary for its time. Unlike the smaller, more delicate tables of earlier periods, refectory tables were built with strength and durability in mind. Thick, heavy legs supported the expansive tabletop, comfortably fitting many people and dishes for mealtime. The length of these tables was another distinguishing feature; some were as long as 12 feet! This allowed for large banquets and feasts within aristocratic groups.
Today, refectory tables are common in television period dramas, serving as a reminder of a bygone era of grandeur and opulence.
What Happened to Drafting Tables?
Drafting tables, also known as drawing boards, originated in the 17th century and were crucial for architects and engineers. These tables have adjustable surfaces that can tilt to accommodate drawing and writing. They can also lay flat for crafting. However, their importance has waned over time due to advancements technology for creative professions. The rise of computer-aided drafting has led modern architects and engineers to predominantly use desktop computers for their drafting needs, reducing the necessity for physical drafting tables.
While they have declined in professional settings, drafting tables still find utility in educational environments and homes, serving as versatile furniture pieces for various creative endeavors. Many homeowners find appropriately sized end tables and accent pieces for displaying art or working.
These three facts you probably didn’t know about the history of tables are fascinating testaments to human innovation. Every piece of furniture tells a unique story. As we continue to advance technologically, ponder what the future holds for your seemingly humble dining table.