Extension tables and billiard tables have something in common in that both trace their beginnings back to the renowned English firm of Gillow. Prior to mechanical extension, the ability to expand and contract dining tables was achieved by adding more or fewer tables to the length - rather like adding or removing boxcars to a train. Some of the finer designs consisted of a basic rectangular table that had additional coordinated inserts that served as dining room side tables, console tables or serving tables when not being used to extend the table. Another popular way of increasing and decreasing seating capacity in the dining room was to use a tilt top table as back up.
Resting on a pedestal base with casters attached to the three support legs to facilitate movement, these tables could seat up to six people and were pushed against the walls when not in use. The invention of the actual extension table is credited to Robert Gillow, founder of the firm of the same name that enjoyed one hundred and fifty years of preeminence in fine furniture manufacturing before the name disappeared in a corporate merger sometime in the early 1960s. The mechanisms he devised to permit table extensions remain the same and have outlasted their inventor. The table slide, used for opening and extending standard four leg tables, consists of a series of parallel boards that are able to slide back and forth on smooth joinery with a male and female butterfly notch routed along the edge for support. Tabletops that are supported on a single pedestal require an equalizer slide that incorporates a rack and pinion system to ensure that the tops open and close easily while staying in balance. Our table slides for standard tables accommodate openings from 26" to 120". Our equalizer slides will permit openings on pedestal tables from 25 1/2" to 79".
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