All about drop-leaf tables

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Oval drop-leaf dining table, built 1765-1785, and in the Decorative Arts and Design collection of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art

A drop-leaf table is a table that has a fixed section in the centre and a hinged section (leaf) on either side that can be folded down (dropped). If the leaf is supported by a bracket when folded up, the table is simply a drop-leaf table; if the leaf is supported by legs that swing out from the centre, it is known as a gate leg table. These tables can be made of a variety of woods from Cherry to Walnut, to Maple or Mahogany. Depending on the style or drop leaf or gate leg tables, the leaves vary from coming almost down to the floor to only coming down slightly. Uses vary from drop leaf dining tables, night stands, side tables, coffee tables and desks.

Drop-leaf tables were found mostly in England where they date back to the late sixteenth century; Elizabethan era and Jacobean era examples are still extant.

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