Lyon, Irving Whitall, 1840-1896. / The colonial furniture of New England
Chapter VI. Tables., pp. -232 ff.
TABLES be used, when properly mounted upon trestles, as a table for meals. After the repast the table was cleared away by first removing the board and then its supports. This simple method of constructing the dining- table with board and trestles is referred to in the early part of the eighth century by the Anglo-Saxon writer Tahtwin, in a verse quoted by Wright in "The Homes of Other Days "(p. 33). In process of time this important piece of furni- ture received another name. It was no longer called a board exclusively, but sometimes a table. How early this began we shall doubtless be told in due time by Doctor Murray in his great historical Dic- tionary now in course of publication. It is certain, however, that this new name for the board had be- come sufficiently current in the fourteenth century to be used to a considerable extent in " Piers the Ploughman," and by Chaucer, and in the beginning of the fifteenth century it was employed by Lydgate in his minor poems published by the Percy Society oftener, indeed, than the old word board. During the next two centuries the English din- ing-table went under one or the other of these two names. But we find in the literature of this period, as well as in the inventories of household furniture, a progressive tendency to use the word table more and the word board less, until at length the latter
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