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Chocolate for My Lady


QUESTION:


Chocolate table.I purchased a reproduction "chocolate table" at an antique store in Savannah, Ga.. I thought it was unique and well suited to a particular area of my home. I've had it for about two years and am curious about it's origins. The store said she had never seen an original, and the ones she had heard about were astronomically expensive. It is oval, with glass sides framed in wood. It has a door on each side, with which to gain entrance to the interior. The top has a removable serving tray. What information can you give me about my little table?

Tammy Schmidt

_______________________________________________________

ANSWER:

What Tammy has is formally called a chocolate display table. According to Fay Spencer, one of the owners of Spencer's Antiques of Waynesville, Ohio, it was also called a tea table. Most have a tray as the top of the table, which can be removed to serve beverages to guests. These were popular in the southern United States around the early to mid-19th Century. Spencer also noted that in pre-Revolutionary War days it was common to serve hot chocolate instead of tea, to avoid supporting the British Government's tax laws. So that's probably why the term chocolate table and tea table are interchangeable.

Most likely the cabinet had been used to store tea or hot chocolate related serving items, such as cups and saucers, small plates for cakes, spoons, etc. Tables came in different shapes, from round to half-round, oval, and even square. The oval tables often had two doors, one on either side or at each end.

Tammy's particular model was most likely similar to this one, made in Indonesia by Furniture World. The one owned by Spencer Antiques is a half-round model made of mahogany with beveled glass and priced at $225.

If anyone knows anything more about this type of table, please send an E-mail with your comments.

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