Workbench Purpose?

danielleonfireJune 10, 2013

I have recently acquired an antique bench (that my family has been calling a coffee table) and would like to know more about what it's original purpose might have been.
Contrary to what my family thinks, I don't believe it was originally a coffee table. There is a depression on the rounded end on the right of the photo that is more like a seat (wouldn't make sense for a coffee table to have a dip like that). I believe its design was for someone to sit on that end, facing towards the drawer and straddling the bench with legs in the curved edges on either side. The drawer is made to open to either right or left, and there are three shallow cubbies at the work end.
The bench belonged to my grandmother (b.1928-d.1955)in Texas. That's about all I know about it. Any info would be greatly appreciated!

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lazy_gardens

1950s "cobbler's bench" style table. Probably maple.

These were never used by cobblers, they were part of the huge revival of "Colonial" furniture right after WWII ... which included items and decorative details that the true colonists had never seen, and adaptations that weren't suitable for their intended use. It was marketing!

As a cobbler's bench, its legs are too delicate to last. As a coffee table, it's got that dent in it.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2013 at 2:39PM
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Fori is not pleased

Yup. Do a google image search for maple cobblers bench table and you'll see its kin, as well as some fun old ads. I think yours is nicer than most. They can be sort of gawky.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2013 at 10:59PM
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sombreuil_mongrel

Original purpose is a coffee table. The craze for colonial-era stuff to re-purpose outstripped the supply of originals, so manufacturers stepped in and started making furniture loosely based on antiques. I have a "wagon seat" coffee table from the 50's purportedly by Ethan Allen.
Casey

    Bookmark   June 11, 2013 at 2:40PM
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