The History of the Bedside Table

August 19th, 2011

It is hard for people in the modern age that we live in today to imagine not having a bedside table or end tables in almost every room in the house. But for the early settlers of America this was the case. What need did they have living in the one room where they lived, ate and slept for such a thing? There was no TV and they worked hard and went to bed early so why would they need a table beside the bed?

It wasn’t until lofts were built and then stairs in the many roomed houses that the need for bedside end tables was discovered. They weren’t for decoration but had the more practical purpose of being a place to set your candle.. Remember there was no electricity so early settlers couldn’t just flick a light when they walked into a dark room.

The solution to this in the beginning was to just blow out the candle and sit it on the floor beside the bed. But then it got stepped on sometimes in the morning and wasted a perfectly good candle that at the time was hard to come by.

Mind you this is not the elegant round accent table that sits by the bed in your bedroom today. The person who invented the bedside table used pine which was sturdy, durable and would stand the test of time. Think about it? He invented a table that was as high as the bed and saved candles all at the same time. Just like in modern times once one wife had one the other wives were sure to follow. The richer families may have used cherry or walnut wood but the majority built their bedside tables out of sturdy pine.

In the 1930’s bedside tables went from a pair of legs with a plank top gave way to elegant little tables with curved legs. It was popular at that time to drape them with floral cloths that covered the legs and protected the table at the same time.

Today you can have any style bedside table you choose. Some people have a round accent table while others may have a sturdy pine with drawers to store books and various things in. Bedside tables are even more needed today. Where else would you keep the book you’re reading, the alarm clock and the TV remote if you didn’t have one?

Leave a Reply