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Dining or drop-leaf table

Probably Kent County, Delaware



28-1/2 in x 41-3/4 in x 18-1/2 in; open, 51-5/8 in


Walnut, lightwood stringing; hard pine (frame), oak (swing rail and outer frame)

Credit Line

Historic Odessa Foundation, gift of Mrs. Maxwell P. (Mildred Hargadine) Harrington.

Accession Number


Condition Notes

The fixed center leaf has had a narrow laminated strip of wood that has been re-glued.  The leaf itself has been reattached.  Fills are visible in the top surfaces of the table top where leaf hinge screws have broken through from underneath.  The underside of one drop leaf and the inside of its swing leg have been shaved down to enable them to swing closed better.  Grain splits exist in the top and one leaf.


According to a memorandum from Scott T. Swank of Winterthur to the Odessa Properties Committee of Winterthur, dated April 23, 1985, the table descended in the family of Mildred Hargadine’s mother, who was of the Jefferson family of Kent County.  Her parents moved to Wilmington in 1920.


Charles Dorman attributed the table to Daniel McDowell of Smyrna, stating that he made it for Thomas Jefferson of Kent County.  Supportive evidence of this attribution has not come to light.  Dorman likely based his attribution on the ownership history and the triple line inlays that bear some resemblance to those found on McDowell furniture but are not a close match.  Dorman also identified the table as being made of mahogany. 

The rectangular table with deep drop leaves stands on four square-tapered legs.  The legs have stringing near the edges and three-part cuffs made of a walnut string flanked by light-wood strings.  Similar banding runs along the base of the end rails and across the legs.  The end rails are slightly recessed or inset.  Large quarter-round glue blocks reinforce the inside of the table frame.  The top is attached with six screws in screw pockets.

The table is made of relatively low-grade walnut.  The three top boards all exhibit grain patterns that suggest they were cut from the same log.  The cylindrical wood hinges cut into the swing rails differ from side to side.  One side of the frame uses two pieces of oak attached to the fixed inner rail of hard pine whereas the other side uses three pieces of oak.  Strips of 2-1/2 to 3-1/2 inches in width have been glued to the bottom edges of each drop leaf to extend it, which is a period practice.  A similar strip has been glued to one edge of the fixed center leaf.  These glued strips appear to be part of the original construction.

See a slant-lid desk, accession no. 1987.41, which also came from the same source.


Charles G. Dorman, Delaware Cabinetmakers and Allied Artisans, 1655-1855 (Wilmington, Del.:  Historical Society of Delaware, 1960), unnumbered plate.