Thursday, January 16, 2014

The Table

 The table, given to me by my aunt and uncle, has generated some interest. I decided to show it off a little more clearly and hope that someone might date it, tell me who made it. Surely it is a commercial product and not something made locally. The hardware seems to support this.
 See the previous post for additional details. The story is this: Charlie bought the table at an estate sale or auction, brought it home and stripped the heavy coats of paint, made various repairs and covered it, I believe, in either a light varnish or maybe no more than a linseed oil (that was his usual technique).
 Originally the table was owned by the Gebhart & Schmidt Funeral Home in Miamisburg. I suppose it was used for various services at the funeral home. Might it not have held flowers or a book to sign? It is slightly smaller than a regular card table but strong, owing to its wooden construction.

 I've always admired the blonde coloration of this table. The top has various cracks and gouges, betraying years of hard use before Charlie bought it. Some spots were repaired with no more than a simple wood filler.

 The bottom of the table shows how the legs fold inward. Springs assist folding and storage. It's as compact and sturdy a table as it possible for its size.

 Large springs keep the table flexible but solid when opened. It cannot wobble from side to side. The springs, I think, point to an early construction date. The funeral home was originally the William Gamble House, deeded on April 11, 1893. Could the table have been leftover from this home? My grandfather, Elwood Schmidt and his partner, Howard Gebhart, bought the house from Thomas Lyons in 1938.

 When the legs are fully opened, two black clasps fit snugly over boards and hold the table open. It cannot be folded again until these claps are listed away from the boards.

 Angle irons at the corners give the table even more stability. They are quite thick for so small a table. The screws seem 19th century to me.

The wooden legs are turned on a lathe with minimal decoration.

 Here's a close look at the top of the table. Who would have ever painted this? My uncle loved working with and seeing bare wood. I do, too.
 It seems only fitting that the table return to the Boyer family when I pass on. That's what I plan to do with it. So, though it will spend the next years as a Schmidt heirloom, it will return to Charlie's family at last.

Gebhart & Schmidt business card: ~1925

 The undertaking business was originally located at 57 South Main Street, Miamisburg, as of 1925. A furniture store was constructed at 16 North Main Street in 1930 (now an art gallery). The Gamble House served as the funeral home (the furniture part of the business was discontinued) beginning in 1938.

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