The History Of The Antique Drum Table

20 April 2018

The table is the second most common form of antique furniture there is; its adaptability, functional use and appearance have established it as a firm favourite amongst collectors, while its purpose has ensured it has lasted the test of time. From bedside tables for your night light to kitchen tables where you share meals with friends and family and entrance hall tables perfectly positioned for your car keys and handbags, the use of the humble table is cemented within our everyday lives. Our gratitude of the form can be displayed through the collection of antique tables, which is why we will be highlighting the use of the drum table throughout history, as well as how you can incorporate the piece into your home.


What is an Antique Drum Table? 

Drum-shaped tables and centre tables were popular throughout England during the 18th and 19th centuries. They are reasonably low to the ground in comparison to a dining table or hallway table and were used in the library of wealthy homes where the man of the house would organise his business, including writing letters and organising the estate. The room would also often be used as a retreat and quiet place for the gentleman, away from the family, where he could enjoy his hobbies.

The drum table was multifunctional, with some gentlemen using them for the rent collection. The exchange was made without any party transferring money directly into each other’s hands. Instead, the money would be placed in one of the drawers, and the table top would be rotated to the receiving party. This provided a professional and discrete transfer of funds.

On some drum tables, drawers were marked alphabetically or numbered; this enabled the content of the drawers to be filed and well-organised.


Types and Styles of Drum Tables

Drum tables occasionally come in pairs, but more often than not were created and sold as individual pieces. They were often placed in the gentleman’s library, as noted previously, or they were placed in hallways or drawing rooms. The pieces were specifically designed to look impressive from 360 degrees, so were typically placed centrally in a room because this would allow for the full admiration from visitors.

Drum table tops are either round or square, the detailing on the top was dependant on who the table was intended for and their preference for the piece. Some tops were covered in leather or marble, whilst others were created solely from wood.

The wood used was dependant on the tastes and fashions of the time, but the most common materials were mahogany, satinwood and rosewood. On some of the finest pieces, the wood was cross banded and inlaid with contrasting grains.

The legs of the drum table also developed and changed with the current preferences; some had cabriole, others a pad foot and the ball and claw remained popular through the centuries.


How Can You Incorporate The Drum Table in Your Home?

The drum table is very adaptable and can suit and enhance a variety of interior designs. Like most antiques, adding the table into your home will provide a touch of elegance and an interesting focal point to any room. Due to the versatility of the table, the drum table can be used and placed in a selection of rooms within the home and will ultimately enhance the appearance of the space.

As the table is lower than a typical dining table, it makes a perfect alternative to a coffee table, and the revolving top may prove useful as your family utilise its fundamental function. Likewise, it makes a great side table in your living room and would work well with a lampshade or ornament placed on top of it.

The drum table is a desirable piece to have within the home, the detail and elegance of the item adds a fascinating focal point to any room. Do you have an antique drum table? Please share your images of them with us via our social media channels!