Illustrated FURNITURE Glossary.


Serving tables / side tables / utility tables

Serving tables are very shallow in relation to their width, much more so than are side tables and utility tables.

All three types may have one drawer, either at the front or at an end. Serving tables in the Queen Anne style are rare. Although a number of Chippendale examples exist, the form became common only during the Federal period, around 1790. While examples from the late 18th and 19th centuries are never very large, some 20th-century pieces are 6' long.


Sideboards are the most complex of the serving pieces. Inaddition to drawers, they have one or more cupboards (servers have no cupboards).


Servers are used to store linens, silver, wine, and other dining accessories, and provide a display surface for food before it is brought to the table.

Servers are closely related to serving tables, but slightly more complex. Like serving tables, they became common in the late 18th century and are rarely more than 4' long.

They typically have two to four drawers; many have an additional case of two or three shallow drawers attached to the top rear, or they may have a splashboard.

Empire / Federal: Empire examples are slightly more elaborate than their Federal predecessors and may include a lower shelf.

Victorian: The few Victorian servers have several drawers; they are found in Eastlake and Renaissance Revival styles.

20th century: The form persisted in the 20th century, mostly in the Mission, Art Deco, and Colonial Revival styles.

Examples from Buffalo:

Text source: - Amnerican Furniture: Chests, Cupboards, Desks, and Other Pieces, by William C. Ketchum, Jr., Chanticleer Press, 2000
Photos and their arrangement 2005 Chuck LaChiusa
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