An extending mahogany Camp Table with Butler’s Tray.
The table has X frame legs united at the top by three pieces of webbing to hold its opened position. Hinged to one side of the legs is the top board which can be set over the webbing or will rest against the side of the legs when folded with a twist catch holding it in place. Alternatively, the table can be doubled in length with the addition of the turned screw in leg, fitted to the brass plate to the table top. The Butler’s Tray is then placed over the webbing to give you an extended surface. When not in use, the leg is held by webbing to the X frame legs.
It is quite common for these tables to have both the tray and leg missing and they have been replaced on this example. The tray is period and follows the Thomas Treherne of 39 Oxford Street, London design with sides that can be dropped on brass sprung fittings. Circa 1820.
Extended size is given.
The Camp Table
Loudon described and illustrated these tables in his Encyclopaedia of 1839 as ‘a very useful article, called a camp table, from its going into little bulk, being light, and being used by officers in camps … opened out to its full extent; the top being hinged to the two legs, and supported by a portable leg which is fastened into it by a screw and socket … and can be removed at pleasure. When not in use, this leg is fixed to one of the legs of the stand by two pieces of girth webbing which are fastened to the leg of the stand. When the stand is opened to its full extent, it stretches out, as a top, three pieces of webbing, which serve as a tray-stand; and a tray is generally made of a proper size to go along with the table. This table may be used as a common table; the hinges projecting above the rail of the stand in such a manner as to let the top turn round either way. When the table is shut up; there are two turn buckles on the legs to keep the top fastened, and to prevent it from swinging about when the table is moved. In families, accustomed to give large dinner parties, these tables are found useful, as forming additions to the sideboard: they are also brought in requisition when parties are given in the open air, or when a meal is taken in any room deficient in tables.’
Encyclopaedia of Cottage, Farm and Villa Architecture and Furniture – J. C. Loudon