The History of the Modern Table Base
Some of the earliest tables and bases can be dated back to ancient Egypt, where they were constructed out of stone to play games that sometimes required intricate carvings on the surface. Ancient Greeks and Romans often used table bases with three or four legs as altars for sacred rituals. Romans tended to have low tables to suit their equally low couches, while Greeks differed in their preference for ornate circular tables used for dining.
By the 18th century and into the 19th century, most table bases were simple and most often made from wood. But as craftsmanship improved, pedestal tables, crafted most often with a circular table top and a heavy column underneath, became popularized due to their ability to save space and look elegant. In fact, many people today love this ornate look and opt for modern models that have the same historical flair like the J-Series Table Base.
In the following century, metal table bases were often used in industrial settings. However, as aluminum and stainless steel became more common, so did metal table bases and more modern designs. In the early 1900s, glass top tables were being used in formal settings like dining rooms, and by the middle of the century, it became a way to bring a fresh modern style into the home. However, heavier table bases were necessary to safely balance the weight.
Manufacturing and Production
Today, many table base materials are available, including metal, plastic, wood, and stone. They also come in a variety of shapes and sizes to suit any home’s aesthetic.
The most popular table base styles include the pedestal, the four-legged base, the trestle table, the tripod, and modern concept designs.
The pedestal table gained popularity because it saves corner space while maintaining perfect stability. With this style, you’ll be able to get more chairs to fit around the table. So if you love hosting large dinner parties, it can be instrumental to squeeze in even one or two more chairs. They also often come in elaborate styles with a vintage touch to really draw the eye in.
The four-legged table base has been around since ancient Egypt, but they grew in popularity due to their stability and durability during the Age of Enlightenment. Originally, they were made of lighter woods and featured beautiful carvings. Today, they are widely used as kitchen and side tables and come in nearly all materials (including heavy-duty metal) and styles.
First developed in the 1950s by Charles and Ray Eames, the X-base was meant to reflect both functionality and elegance. Its unique X-shaped design created a more modern and intriguing look at the time that was also more space efficient. You can still find this mid-century modern model today in a variety of materials to suit both new and historical homes.
Trestle table bases work well with nearly every interior style. Crafted by two or three evenly spaced supports, they are then connected to a beam underneath the table for optimal seating space and stability. This base style works great in smaller spaces when you want to seat more guests!
The three-legged tripod base was originally referred to as a “wine table” since it is the ideal height to grab a glass of wine when placed next to your chair. They still make excellent bases for side tables featuring decorative pieces or plants around the home. This style is both highly functional and ornamental.
Today, contemporary takes on traditional table bases, like the Eero Saarinen's Iconic Pedestal Table, can be a great fit for the modern home. You can have the full benefits of a dinner or side table, while really making a statement. Saarinen stated that his clean, sleek bases like this model were designed to “clear up the slum of legs” that often accompany older models.
Proliferation and Popularization
However, table bases aren’t just for the home, and their styles and standards have evolved and changed according to the needs of various businesses.
The rise of amusement parks like Coney Island in the late 19th century met the need for relaxation, rest, and recreation in public. Benches, dining sets, and picnic tables all became frequently used for their outdoor durability and ease of use. Bases often were made from metal with legs that didn’t take up much space so more guests could be seated together.
You also see the evolution of table base styles as visits to restaurants and bars become less of an occasional treat and more of a common occurrence. Originally, many restaurants had private areas sectioned by curtains for each party.
However, due to claims of illegal actions taking place, it became demanded in many regions to have open-spaced seating that was clearly visible. That’s when leather and chrome restaurant and bar booths began making a show all over the country in many styles including standard, double, L-shape, circular, and more.
If you like the style of vintage bar stools, check out the modern designs available for your home or business like the Turno-30 Black Table Base, which has the same elegant feel.
The chess boom also caused a new need for solid outdoor tables. Park chess table bases are typically crafted from solid wood or metal, depending on the table. They are made to resist wind and tipping, so many also include a cross-shaped base to add even greater stability.
Shipping and Production
A well-crafted table base requires high-quality weighting, design, balance, height, and materials. No beautiful table can amount to as much without a steady base properly assembled to its unique form and weight requirement. The ideal base will ensure your table remains stable during use, boost the aesthetic appeal, and withstands wear and tear.
The process of manufacturing table bases usually involves smelting, pressing, rolling (steel), or molding (cast iron). Each style and material of table base will require a different construction. Usually, the general process starts by smelting and molding the appropriate metal into shape, and then drilling and cutting pieces to allow them to fit together.
Afterward, most pieces are powder coated and then shipped knocked down for assembly by the final user.
Today, most furniture manufacturers send their finished products in pieces to reduce the cost of shipping, and to allow customers to mix and match pieces of different sizes or heights to best fit the needs of their project.
Future Predictions for Table Bases
We can expect to see many future developments in table base design and production in the following years. Geometric designs, unique finishes, space-saving/convertible modern styles, and options for personalization are just a few of the trends that await.
“Retail stores will vanish and every consumer will be able to customize their own furniture,” shares Sharon Blaustein, founder, and Principal Designer at B Interior. “More modular pieces will be designed that are easy to move and customize as needed. Things such as expandable tables, sectional pieces, stackable chairs, storage beds, etc. Space is limited and people are moving more from one place to the other.”
This trend away from the mass-production standards that brick-and-mortar stores uphold – and toward customizability in interior design – is where e-commerce industry leaders like Table Bases come in. The ability to craft your own dining space by finding the right tabletop that speaks to your personal style and pair it with a well-crafted table base is critical to this concept of personalization, consolidation, and forward-thinking design.
Though the table base may have originated as a simple, utilitarian, and basically designed commodity, it has since evolved into a form of personal expression – for restaurants and homeowners alike. Whether you’re trying to give your home or your dining establishment a unique touch, there’s no better way to do it than by pouring your heart and soul into the process of selecting even the most minuscule details – such as the table bases themselves.