Tilt-top table/firescreen, 1740-1770
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Click to Enlarge

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

  • Overview
  • Description
  • Further Information
The stand is constructed similarly to the candlestands and tables that are common in American furniture of the colonial and federal periods: a tripod base, a columnar shaft or pillar, and a horizontal top surface that can be tipped into a vertical position when not in use. Three serpentine legs terminating in shod snake feet are dovetailed into the base of a tapered, turned columnar shaft, ringed at both top and bottom. The shaft or pillar is wedged into a block. The block is fitted into a pair of cleats or battens that are mounted to the underside of a long, narrow, table-like top with notched and rounded ends. A metal spring latch on the underside of the stand's top secures the top when it is horizontal.

The underside of the top was designed to include a small shelf, presumably to hold a candlestick, when the top is raised into a vertical position to serve as a firescreen.

See the music stand for another example of adaptation of a commonly available furniture form, also attributed to Franklin.

postmaster@benfranklin300.org Terms of Use Credits