Just when you think we know everything about gaming tables, more information surfaces. I was at the preview of a local auction house when I came across this rather chunky example:

Georgian Game Table 

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This lot has sold for $260.

Description:  19th century, mahogany, mahogany veneer, oak secondary, unusual dual hinged top with storage compartment, gate leg, cabriole legs with pad foot.

Most game tables have some style or elegance, not this one.The heavy apron and the graceless pad feet lack a pleasing aesthetic.

But that’s not why I called you here.

It is a four-legged table with the fourth leg being a traditional gate leg:

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The hinged fourth/gate leg.

Note the sprung hinge on the right side. This is important.

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The gate leg deployed.

The hinge is still sprung. Also note the screws on the lower table surface.

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When you open the table, it’s round. Closed, it’s a thicker semi-circle. Geometry works.

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And here you can almost see the crack running 2/3 of the way across the table.

What caused the crack? The lower table section is hinged to the frame covering the storage below:

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The storage below. This explains the chunky apron.

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And here you see the crack and the hinge placement that keeps the opened table top from lying flat. Failure is always an option.

This isn’t the only design challenge. If one tries to access the storage area with the table closed, the sections stacked, when the sections are opened beyond around 30°, the table falls over. Empirically determined. The table is not very deep and when the weight is shifted too far to the back, bad things happen. If I recalled my vector analysis, I could calculate the tipping point.

I did not bid on this table.

On a more positive note, I found two examples of another method of table support. I reveal to you the extension gaming table:

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A small extension table.

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And here are the extension rails. Note the dowel pins.

I found the above at the Raleigh Antiques Extravaganza.

A few hours later I found this one at a Raleigh consignment shop:

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Another extension game table. Two in on day after never seeing one before.

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A view from above. The leg is not one piece but a glue-up.

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The obligatory front view.

On the back rail was this label:

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I always enjoy finding labels.

The dealer believes that these tables are from the 1930’s. A search for the patent shows that Patent 2,153,262 was granted April 4, 1939. There were simple practical and novel improvements in extension tables in Patent 2,316,448 on April 14, 1943.

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Patent art for the extension table.

I couldn’t find much on the Big Rapid Furniture Mfg. Co. of Big Rapids, Michigan other than by their own admission they are Manufacturers of Medium Priced Furniture. They obviously survived beyond 1939.