The genesis of this blog was a visit to Atlanta in February of 2012. I attended the Cathedral Antiques Show, which I think is the finest antiques show I have ever attended. Nothing but the best with prices and hors d’oeuvres to match.

A dealer there had a game table I had read about but never seen. It has a mechanism for table support that is unique. It was a gorgeous table with a high level of appropriate decoration. The dealer was anxious to show me the table and explain in great detail the history and construction of the table. It was amazing.

Only problem was that the show had a rather strict “no photography” policy. The dealer was sympathetic but was more concerned about his status as a dealer than my blog. That I wasn’t writing yet.

I finally found another table of this design at an auction a few weeks back. I can finally share this different table with you, my loyal reader.

But first, a prime on game table technology. The game table or card table for the purposes of this blog refers to a relatively small table with a folded top that opens to reveal a flat surface that is meant for playing cards or other games. There are many forms and variations of this table including:

The one-legged table:

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The tabletop is mounted with a pivot off-center. To open the table, one rotates the top 90° and unfolds the top. There is usually a storage compartment beneath the top.

I have not seen a two-legged table. It could be that there is a trestle table with a folding top, but I’ve not seen it.

A three-legged table might be possible but, again, I’ve not seen one.

What comes close is actually a four-legged table:

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There is a fourth leg but not where you expect.

In this implementation, the fourth leg pulls straight out of the rear apron to support the top.

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A straight pull back, no hinges required.

A variation of this table:

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has a drawer to support the fourth leg and the tabletop.

Then we advance to the four-legged table. This variation has a hinged or gate leg that swings out to support the top:

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One leg swings back to make magic.

This table needs two legs to make it happen:

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All legs in.

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Both legs are hinged and swing out to support the top.

(I was looking for through my library for a picture of this type table without luck. Then I went over to an auction Wednesday to preview on online auction and found this one being readied for the next auction.)

Let’s not forget the five-legged table:

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Really a four-legged table with a plus one. I assume the fifth is hinged and swings back and catches the top. The museum wouldn’t let me play.

This is an example of the table for which I have been searching for these five long years:

English Queen Anne Card Table

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This lot has sold for $400.

Description:   Mid 18th century, mahogany, mahogany veneer, shaped top with molded edge, opening to reveal felt lined interior, skirt with herringbone line inlay, cabriole legs featuring acanthus carved knee, raised on pad feet.

The side view led me to believe that I had found it:

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An odd little gap at the back was a clue.

Using my spiffy camera with live view and rotating/swinging back I was able to shoot up and see what lay beneath:

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There be folded parts.

There was a mechanism that unfolds and allows the back apron to fall back well over 18″ to support the top:

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The apron unfolds to support the unfolded top.

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(Almost) Fully deployed.

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The view from below shows some structural details.

This view shows the board that slides in the groove to lock the back legs into place.

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The horizontal board is pulled through the groove to lock the legs in place.

This blog has been five years in the making. Was it worth it? We’ll know when awards season arrives.