Close to the wall with books and papers haphazardly placed all over its surface sits the one piece of furniture no home can do without one. Some purchase this piece of furniture to fill up a space in a home and eat a meal or two. For others, it is a nothing more than a pretty addition to a beautiful home topped with an elegant table runner and properly placed plates and silverware. This furnishing comes in many shapes, sizes, and colors made of wood, stone, metal, and plastic. For most, the dining room table is a gathering place to share stories of their day and enjoy fellowship together. The family table in our house is plain, aging, and well used, not fancy and untouched.
Encyclopedia Britannica describes the table as, “basic article of furniture, known and used in the Western world since at least the 7th century, consisting of a flat slab of stone, metal, wood, or glass supported by trestles, legs, or a pillar.” (table). Tables have been around for ...view middle of the document...
It is believed that most of these tables were not used as we traditionally think of today, for dining purposes. Many that have been excavated from burial chambers were used as offering tables were relatives of the deceased could bring gifts (Dollinger). A lot is known about Egyptian furnishing because their custom was to fill tombs with the belongings of the departed.
Ancient Greeks had an interesting way to dine, while reclining some used tables similar to footstools to place their food on while eating. Because there is not many examples of furniture left from Ancient Greece most information about furnishing is learned from paintings, vases, and sculptures. Due to extreme laws and customs extravagant furnishings in homes were discouraged. In later years these laws and customs slacked up (Litchfield).
During the Middle Ages dining tables became larger and portable. They were mostly long trestle tables with benches to accommodate the large amount of people who would gather in the great halls of the castles ("The History of the Dining Room Tables "). Although large gatherings and parties have been prominent throughout time, the Middle Ages are known for celebrations that lasted days at a time. Christmas is an example, people celebrated with food and cheer from Christmas Eve well into January.
Up until this point most tables are purely functional, some of the more prominent families having beautiful hand carved and jewel inlaid tables for fancy gatherings. As we go into modern times, starting in the 17th century, tables became not only functional but expanded into many different shapes and styles. Thanks to the invention of the Gate-leg, dropleaf, and butterfly styles people were able to entertain in smaller areas. These type of tables expand out for dining and go back down to be stored when company goes home. Some of the most elegant tables are the Dutch, French, and English style tables. They are mostly made of hard woods and have intricate carvings that make them beautiful (Aronson).
There is a closeness seen at the dining room table, whether one is sharing a delightful dinner with family and friends or a couple conversing about their day over a cup of coffee this area of the home is definitely the gathering place of happiness.