Help me identify this table

LakittehSeptember 5, 2011

This table (or bench?) was given to me by a neighbor. It was his grandmothers and she had it since the 60s at least. It seems like it is meant to be a bench... notice the indention that is pretty much shaped like a place to sit. It is made by Winchendon... from the Old Meeting House Maple line.

I just cannot decide if it is a table or some sort of telephone bench or what...




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Sorry, used the wrong sort of link the first time

    Bookmark   September 5, 2011 at 9:36PM
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Looks to me like an ol shoe/boot bench. The heels fit into the "cups" on the side to keep them orderly, and unlike more modern shoe bench's they didn't use a shelf under the bench itself due to the fact that high top shoes of varying heights were still in vogue. The drawer would contain your cream's, brushes, and buffing rags.

If I had to guess... I would say around a 1940's piece. Nice condition, and looks like the main portions may have been retouched/refinished at some point.

The Greater Gardner Furniture History project might have more detailed information for you.

Here is a link that might be useful: GGFH Winchendon Furniture Company

    Bookmark   September 6, 2011 at 2:27AM
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I think it's the "phoney-coloney" style of the early-mid-fifties, in competition with the original "Ethan Allen by Baumritter" line that I grew up with (and inherited). They thought they were being cute by taking antique forms (cobbler's benches. wagon seats, etc.), and making coffee tables from them. Like dry sinks became hi-fi cabinets around 1970...
And today, from what I gather, people use industrial trolley carts as coffee tables, so it's always going to be the most popular re-purposing creativity-overspill valve.

The only problem with all this maple stuff is that it's so well made it never will wear out and you'd feel bad taking it to the kerb.
(ps: I have the ca. 1953 Ethan Allen wagon seat coffee table alluded to)

    Bookmark   September 6, 2011 at 9:30AM
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Casey nailed it...1950's "colonial"....when all things hard rock maple and ruffled lampshades and faux cobblers' benches and dry sinks were popular.
And it's not a very good as in well made, rendition either.
It was intended to be a coffee table.
A real cobblers' bench was made to be straddled rather than sit on to the side. There were varing numbers of places to put nails and pegs, and usually the tools were kept in the drawer.
Likely cost about $28 when new.
Linda C

    Bookmark   September 6, 2011 at 11:04AM
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Thanks for the help. I find the thing to be hideous myself but my husband likes it and wanted to know more about it. He has started taking an interest in furniture since my mother gave us her Lane boomerang coffee table and matching end tables from the 60s. Those I love... this thing I just have no idea what to do with!

Becca :)

    Bookmark   September 6, 2011 at 3:38PM
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Fori is not pleased

If it's sturdy enough for sitting, I think it'd be great in an entryway or mudroom for putting on shoes and whatnot (I think that's what Mikk meant, not that it's a cobbler's bench!).

I guess I'm a sucker for anything with a built-in butt mark. :P

    Bookmark   September 6, 2011 at 4:54PM
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Well, I have to do a 'fess up here, to say that I am madly in love with this colonial maple stuff, to the extent that I buy it when I can get it cheap and keep some in storage (I need furniture to keep my stuff on in storage, so it works...).

My history is that of first generation immigrant, and my parents were somewhat disconnected from trends, so I didn't grow up with it at all. It always looks to me like stuff that "other people," especially "normal people," had in their homes.

But it isn't just the ambience of it, but the wood itself that appeals to me to me. I have plans to alter some of the pieces (the ones that do fall apart after a time), using the wood to make new things.

It is pretty sturdily built, but one thing I've discovered is that a lot of it comes apart quite easily - much of the Canadian Vilas, Imperial Loyalist, and Roxton stuff I have is all screwed together and as such can be treated as the origin of the Ikea concept. OK, maybe not quite, and sometimes you do have to drill out dowels or do some damage, but often it's quite cleverly done (eg with pocket screws, or cross-screwed corner bars).

I do have my limitations style-wise as there was some pretty ugly stuff made, so although I admit to a weakness for the ruffled lampshades I can't work up a real passion for raised-panel doors. I draw the line at the dry sink - have been wondering about the rationale for and use of those! Some of the companies actually got quite innovative in the 60s and 70s too.

This particular coffee table... I do have some trouble loving this. First, I'd hate to have someone sit on it, especially someone large, as I don't like the construction for weight bearing, especially if, merciful heavens, the lamination is across the table top. Even if no one does sit on it, I'm not real keen to be putting my bowl of chips on an area that looks like someone is supposed to sit on it! But it definitely has character, and I'd be like your husband and would be intrigued by it. I'd have trouble getting rid of it. I mean, that logo alone is a piece of displayable art!

I have a few pieces that are being turned into shelves - wall shelves with brackets, or shelves inside furniture - as the need arises, or that are being used as surfaces on other sets of legs. So in my hands, this coffee table just might go into the "to be repurposed" pile.

By the way, if you do repurpose, be aware that the lamination is usually supported by screwed-in cross bars for good reason. Also, I'd suspect that the seeming-wedge-fastenings on the surface are fake - they are on a coffee table I've got.

What were some of the other company names that made this stuff in the US? I remember hearing about one that began with "c" I think, but can't remember it.

Karin L

    Bookmark   September 6, 2011 at 5:03PM
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Fori is not pleased

I have a midcentury-ish maple colonial style hutch by "R. Veal & Son" out of Oregon. I think Heywood Wakefield made furniture in this style as well (it the HW stuff that is cheap, of course!). I'd be surprised if most manufacturers didn't have a little of the maple colonial stuff. But I'm sure they didn't all have buttprint coffee tables!

This table has very nice legs I think.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2011 at 8:12PM
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It is a conversation piece if nothing else. And I am loath to cast away anything with a little history behind it. Besides the Lane tables I have a gorgeous pair of mahogany chests that were my grandparents' (my dad remembers them from his living room when he was a child so they are 60+) and I collect all sorts of old milk glass. So I suppose I will find something to do with this table...

I like your idea of re-purposing things Karin. Might give that a try with a few smaller pieces I have that I don't quite know what to do with.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2011 at 10:57PM
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Fori is not pleased

Cat feeding station!

Actually, if the toy means there are kids about, this would be a good piece to sacrifice for a play area. Sturdy and HARD wood, interesting nooks to park cars and crayons, rounded tables are great for small kids! Mine would have that set up as a store in no time.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2011 at 11:38PM
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fori - my 3 year old granddaughter is already trying to use it as a play station... wants to sit on it and runs cars all over it lol. That works for me but my hubby might not agree... of course if she bats her eyes at him and says "pweassse" she will have it! And it might keep her away from the Lane set.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2011 at 12:21AM
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True, Fori, the buttprint is truly something unique! I have seen coffee tables with little fences, compartments, and a host of other quirks, but not a buttprint.

And yes, perfect play table.

Karin L

    Bookmark   September 7, 2011 at 12:31AM
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My mom had an entire living room suite made in that style. Coffee and insane number of side tables, 3 or 4. She got it from a neighbor when I was an infant. (Neighbor woman moved in with her daughter, had a ton of furniture only a decade or so old at the time, from late 40's to early 50s. All well made, and I guess she liked Mom because she practically furnished a young couple's home. :) We had a blast playing matchbox cars on it because of the railing and compartments with lids. I used it temporarily when married, mom didn't want it back, finish was in good shape so it went to Habitat. (And was snatched up within a day I might add, went back and it was gone.) So that's 4 different generations/families using the stuff. Built like a brick outhouse ;)

    Bookmark   September 7, 2011 at 5:47AM
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Fori is correct. I made no mention of a cobblers bench (no idea where that notion came from). It would have been used as a functional entryway/mudroom piece, or within the bedroom. A little research on the Winchendon Furniture Company and their product line would show that they were not into the "novelty" coffee table business.

IMHO.. it's just another example of one of those inexpensive, durable, yet functional little pieces of the time.

IOW's... a good place to sit your bum.. pull on your half wellingtons.. give a little buff and be on about your day. :-) Practical, economical, and nonsenseical.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2011 at 5:08PM
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It was meant to be a coffee table in the "style of" a cobblers bench. They were all over the place in the late 50's and 60's, very popular. And if you couldn't find a real antique cobbler's bench there was always Ethan allen or Sprague Carleton or Kling....
Here's one
There were even plans to build your own faux antique cobbler's bench coffee table.
This one has a different type of butt print.
many many people had a coffee table like that in the early 1960's.
I am sure it would make a great cat feeding station or a race track for little cars or even a back door seat for removing boots. But it's a reproduction cobbler's bench, most likely used as a coffee table originally. During the 60's colonial craze, many things were reproduced and repurposed, dry sinks as stereo cabinets, apothecary cabinets as dressers or end tables, this is just one example.
Linda C

Here is a link that might be useful: cobbler's bench coffee tables

    Bookmark   September 8, 2011 at 8:39PM
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Again with the cobblers bench?? Even though it resembles NOT any kind of cobblers bench of the time??? And the fact that is was a 1930's - 1940's piece.. not the 60's... and despite the fact that the manufacture was never in the faux coffee table business?

I guess if someone made something like it 20 years after the fact.. even though every example is side shaped double sided.. not flat single cupped... then it must be true. lol Don't worry about what that particular company did or didn't make.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2011 at 9:58PM
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    Bookmark   September 12, 2011 at 10:51PM
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