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A Night at the Round Table

November 7th, 2011 | posted by James Gillis

Round Dining Table by Robert Jupe

For years, furniture designers tried to figure out how to make round tables expand while still maintaining their shape.  Several designs have come about, but none have come to close to the elegance, sophistication, and engineering genius of “Jupe’s Improved Expanding Table,” invented by London upholsterer Robert Jupe, registered as patent 6,788, on September 11 1835.

Made of Cuban mahogany in the 1830s and in exquisite condition, this Jupe table is an extremely rare find.  Designers of the Regency era sought to combine the most advanced technical innovations of the day with superb and beautiful craftsmanship.

The Table Expanded

The Table Expanded

Though Robert Jupe’s incredibly innovative table was well received, his company, Johnstone, Jupe & Co., produced it for only 5 years (1830-1835.)  Jupe’s clever mechanism has been widely copied by designers such as Oscar de la Renta in New York and Theodore Alexander in London.

Eight crescent-shaped iron bars are attached on one end to the undersides of eight pie-slice shaped pieces of wood that comprise the tabletop. The iron bars are attached on their other end to the table’s central base in a circular fashion.

By turning the tabletop 90 degrees, counter clockwise, the crescent-shaped bars move the slices outward, leaving gaps into which leaves made of the same wood as the original table top can be inserted, instantly expanding the table’s seating capacity. The leaves can be removed by simply twisting the tabletop 90 degrees clockwise, and rejoining the eight pie slices to form a circle again.

The table is complete with its original leaves and extends from a smaller diameter of 66” to an expansive 92,” creating a beautiful dining table for eight.

One of only a handful known to exist, the table belongs center stage in any home.

The Table Expanded with Leaves

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