Antique Drop Leaf Tables - The Ultimate Guide
Vintage drop leaf tables have made an extraordinary resurgence in the minds of all discerning home furnishers. Not least for their more modern attributes: space saving and easy to setup. However, the appeal of these antique drop leaf tables goes much further. For example, the ability to convert into a larger dining table at a moment’s notice, gives drop leafs a level of flexibility that is difficult to match. Also, the ability to easily store away when not needed is a real bonus. The end result is that antique drop leaf tables are now a very popular choice for all types of dining room, kitchen, or breakfast room.
What is a Drop Leaf Table?
A drop leaf table is a table that has a hinged leaf or leaves (the table's dining surface) which can be raised to extend the size of the table. The leaf or leaves are stored underneath the table when not in use. There are different variations on the classic drop leaf table, such as the Gateleg or Flip Top Table.
Drop leaf tables come in a variety of styles and designs. Some drop leaf tables are designed to be used as coffee tables, end tables, or occasional tables. Some drop leaf tables are designed to be used as dining room tables or kitchen tables. There are also drop leaf tables that are designed to be used as card tables or game tables.
Drop leaf tables are usually made with a variety of hardwoods. However, there are some drop leaf tables that are made of metal, plastic, or other compound materials.
How to choose an Antique Drop Leaf Table
There are a few things to consider when choosing an antique drop leaf table. First, consider the size of the table. Your choice will naturally be influenced by the size of the room it is to be placed in. Drop leaf tables come in a variety of shapes. Some drop leaf tables are designed to seat two people, while other drop leaf tables are designed to seat four or more people.
Second, consider the shape of the table. Drop leaf tables come in a variety of shapes, including rectangular, circular & oval. Are you purchasing mainly to save space, or to entertain guests?
Third, you'll want to consider the style / brand of drop leaf table. Here are just a few firm favorites:
G plan drop leaf table
This long established and highly regarded British furniture brand originated with master craftsman Ebenezer Gomme, who founded the company in 1898.
G Plan furniture is known for its simple, functional designs and solid construction. The company's most iconic design is the G Plan drop leaf coffee table, which was introduced in the early 1950s. Because of its subtle familiarity paired with its simple modern appeal this vintage drop leaf coffee table instantly becomes an eye catcher in any home.
G Plan drop leaf tables are available in a variety of styles & ranges, including the G Plan Fresco, G Plan Astra, and G Plan Tola.
Vintage Ercol drop leaf table
Ercol is another iconic British furniture brand, which was founded in 1920 by Lucian Ercolani.
Ercol furniture is known for its simple, elegant designs and high quality construction. The company's most iconic design is the Ercol Windsor chair, which was introduced in the early 1950s.
Ercol drop leaf tables are a little harder to source, but are available in a variety of styles, many variations from the Ercol Romana, Ercol Teramo, and Ercol Bosco ranges
Mid-century drop leaf table
Because of the popularity of this table design in the 1950s & 1960s, you'll find a range of vintage drop-leaf and pembroke tables from this period. Many different companies produce drop leaf tables in varying materials, from hardwood to Formica. Which means you're free to choose the drop leaf table that matches the particular aesthetic of your home.
How to date a drop leaf table or How can I tell how old my drop leaf table is?
There are a few things to look out for when attempting to date a drop leaf table.
First, look at the style of the table. Drop leaf tables were first introduced in the early 18th century. However, the style of the table will give you a better indication of its age. For example, a drop leaf table with Queen Anne legs is likely to be one of the earliest examples. A drop leaf table with Chippendale legs is likely to be from much later. A drop leaf table with Hepplewhite legs will be different again.
Second, look at the construction of the table. Drop leaf tables were originally constructed with a simple, solid wood frame. However, the construction of the table will give you a better indication of its age. For example, a drop leaf table with a dovetailed drawer is likely to be from the early 18th century. A drop leaf table with an inlaid top is likely to be from the mid to late-18th century.
Of course for mid century drop leaf tables, this becomes a little easier if you can simply identify the brand. If you're unsure, McClintock Antiques will be happy to assist you in determining the age of your table.
Are old drop leaf tables worth anything?
The value of an old drop leaf table will depend on a number of factors, including its age, condition, style, and provenance.
A drop leaf table that is in good condition and is made of high-quality materials will be worth more than a drop leaf table that is in poor condition and is made of low-quality materials.
A drop leaf table that is made by a well-known manufacturer will be worth more than a drop leaf table that is made by an unknown manufacturer.
A drop leaf table that is from the early 18th century will be worth more than a drop leaf table from the mid 20th century.
What is the difference between a gateleg table and a drop leaf table?
On a gateleg table the leaves are supported by actual table legs that pivot out from the centre to support the 'leaved' surfaces. A drop leaf table has a single, fixed centre leg with the leaves on either side.