Thursday, February 23, 2012

Encyclopedia Drew and the Mysterious Table of Mystery

Perhaps you might remember when I wrote about buying a coffee table. I did so here on this blog, in the post wherein I discussed the set dressing from a cancelled Raven-Symone sitcom, the monsters from Tremors, severed mannequin legs and the estate sale of Not Joni Mitchell. Yes, that post. At the very end, after the detailed listing of all the things I did not purchase, I mentioned that I bought coffee table.

That, I suppose, was a lie.

I bought a piece of furniture that I have chosen to use as a coffee table even though it’s most likely intended for some other purpose. I’m just not sure what.

Here is the table in its oval form:


What makes this table strange, however, are its leaves. They don’t especially increase the overall surface area, and they also don’t fold under the table, as extend-o-leaves usually do. Instead, they fold up. Here, with the edges vertical, the shape takes on its second, rectangular form:


So why would a table do this? The leaves, when folded up, make it difficult to put things on and get things off the table, so I’d guess seems like you’re supposed to use it with the leaves down. But why would you ever want the leaves up? Did this table go on a ship or something else that had reason to be less stable that a normal, tacked-to-the-ground house? Or did someone once arrange items on this table and then move it somewhere else, arranged objects and all? With the sides folded up, the handles make it easier to carry, I suppose, but overall the table is not especially light. I can’t imagine why a whole table — legs and all — would be simpler to move around than, say, a tray that you could place anywhere.

Anyone? Really at a loss for what this thing is. And please, no jokes about it being a sex table, because I’ve already eaten off it.

6 comments:

  1. My parents had a coffee table like that. I LOVED messing with it as a kid. I'll ask them what it's purpose was again, because I must say that I've forgotten over time.

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    1. Spencer and a Twitter friend have guessed that it's a butler table. And this may well be the case, per this eBay listing: http://www.ebay.com/itm/ANTIQUE-HENREDON-HERITAGE-BUTLER-TRAY-TABLE-/220720249595#ht_2966wt_1163 But a friend has guessed that it could be specifically a game table, which I have to admit sounds more fun.

      On the other hand, maybe I need to hire a butler?

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  2. I asked my mother, who knows everything (and specifically knows a lot about ships and their respective furnitures). She thinks it's an on-land serving table: "You set up the table in the kitchen, carry it in and drop the sides to serve." So I guess this is a seconding for you getting butler!

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    1. Done. I shall name him Wimberton.

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  3. I was going to say that I was pretty sure it's a serving table because it can be more easily cared with less possibility of spillage, but others already answered that, so I'll just say thanks for the Encyclopedia Brown reference.

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    1. As a matter of fact, I've posted more than one Encyclopedia Drew mystery over the years.

      http://kidicarus222.blogspot.com/search/label/the%20encyclopedia%20drew%20mysteries

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