Artist/maker unknown, American
Tea tables with scalloped and molded "piecrust" edges were designed for the genteel occasion of tea drinking, but were also known to be used for casual, daily activities such as writing letters and reading books. For convenience and versatility, they were constructed with spindled "birdcage" mechanisms underneath that enabled the tops to both rotate and flip into a vertical position. When not in use, a table could be placed flat against a wall. Colonial Philadelphians preferred round tables to rectangular ones and the city's highly skilled cabinetmakers and specialty carvers excelled at producing sumptuous examples.