Numerous new furniture forms appeared during the Federal period, many of which displayed mechanical ingenuity in their construction. The accordian-action extension dining table was one of these successful innovations and was based on the 1800 patent of the English cabinetmaker, Richard Gillow. In America, New York cabinetmakers and their patrons seemed particularly partial to the accordian-action table which could be condensed or expanded in size by the insertion of up to six separate leaves. The table offered here is accompanied by its original dovetailed storage case fitted for six leaves and with brass carrying handles.
Most of the known examples are similar to this table with slight variations on the baluster turnings and carving of the sabre legs. Closely related tables include one in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, see Marshall Davidson and Elizabeth Stillinger, The American Wing at the Metropolitan Museum of Art,(New York, 1985) pl. 227 and back cover; another illustrated in Berry B. Tracy et. al., 19th Century America: Furniture and Other Decorative Arts, (New York, 1970) cat. no. 19; another owned by Martin Van Buren sold at Christie's, New York, 21 January 1984, sale 5484, lot 334; and one illustrated as "Best" in Albert Sack, Fine Points of Furniture, (New York, 19 ) p. 245.