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John Morris

MWTCA November 2016 "What's It" Contest

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On the surface, one might say that it is a medical exam table.  However there are three giveaways that point to another use for the "table."   The first giveaway are the large spindles on each corner of the table indicating that something heavy is probably placed on the table.  

 

The second giveaway is that one end of the table could be lifted up and is wider than the rest of the table.  This implies that the table may actually be a bed without a mattress on it.  The part that can tilt up is where the torso, arms and head can be partially raised.

 

The third giveaway are the horizontal boards, near the floor, on each side of the table.  Given the height of these boards from the floor and the approximate distance from the boards to the table top, my guess is that the boards were used for kneeling.

 

Thus my deduction is that this is a viewing table for someone who died, where people can kneel down on each side of the platform to pray while viewing the body.

 

Phil Rasmussen

The Mountain Woodworker

Hendersonville, NC

www.mountainwoodworker.com

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@Phil Rasmussen and @Grandpadave52 and @HandyDan I believe have the most plausible answers here. Now we just need some type of reference, images from a source, some type of reference. Great job guys!

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On 11/1/2016 at 8:34 PM, Dadio said:

My first thought was some kind of food processing table. It looks like it slopes towards the door. Like maybe there was a tub under the door and the food being cut up was tossed into it and the door was to keep the fly's out while it was waiting to be removed.

Herb

Herb, I was viewing that slope too, but it appears upon closer look, the slope is due to a busted leg, the right leg in one image has a shim under it, and in the other image it does not.

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On 11/1/2016 at 7:55 PM, Ron Altier said:

It has wheels on it so it can be taken to a hose and clean up.

Hey Ron, I'm looking for the wheels but don't seem em.

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Dan or Phil may be closer than I on this one...unfortunately, this table be a one-off crafted locally or regionally to meet a specific request. while the base which likely would be most visible is more ornate, the top (likely covered or draped) is less finished. Also the hinges are steel or cast versus brass (perhaps originally brass plated) which lend to the theory of local crafted versus specialty produced.

 

Funeral practices and customs were significantly different during late 19th & early 20th century than now and were also regionally derived. I still suspect this bench/ table was associated with the early funeral trade in some manner but to match it up to an exact photo is probably unlikely since much of it was not mass produced. Many companies didn't pursue this market niche because they felt it was a "dying business." :rolleyes:

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19 minutes ago, Grandpadave52 said:

but to match it up to an exact photo is probably unlikely since much of it was not mass produced.

We don't' need a match Dave, just something to justify the theory! Something similar, or even an email to a funeral equipment supplier or someone who is familiar with this trade? Just a little research to back this up.  

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21 minutes ago, John Morris said:

We don't' need a match Dave, just something to justify the theory! Something similar, or even an email to a funeral equipment supplier or someone who is familiar with this trade? Just a little research to back this up.  

I can't today, but I have been thinking about stopping by a funeral home to see if anyone there might recognize this - I will try next week, unless someone else can find more info out before hand.

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21 minutes ago, Chips N Dust said:

but I have been thinking about stopping by a funeral home

I tend to avoid these places as much as possible...always afraid they won't let me leave and want me for a display...:rolleyes:

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7 minutes ago, Grandpadave52 said:

afraid they won't let me leave

possible...

 

8 minutes ago, Grandpadave52 said:

want me for a display

not likely...

might be bad for business...

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3 hours ago, Grandpadave52 said:

I tend to avoid these places as much as possible...always afraid they won't let me leave and want me for a display...:rolleyes:

The last place I want to go.

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1 hour ago, Dadio said:

The last place I want to go.

Or possibly will go...  :P:D

Edited by Chips N Dust (see edit history)

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Sorting table,  like fruits.   Pick away the good stuff, shove the twigs, dirt and leaves down the hole.    Maybe like a Grape sorting table?    Pick out the ripe ones into a basket behind the workers, not so ripe into a second one.....stems and other trash go down the hole into a basket to be tossed away into the compost pile.  Just a WAG....

 

Send someone up to the Napa Valley area to find one....

Edited by steven newman (see edit history)

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8 hours ago, Grandpadave52 said:

I tend to avoid these places as much as possible...always afraid they won't let me leave and want me for a display...:rolleyes:

Like my going through an Antique Store...I have to keep moving, otherwise, they will put a price sticker on me....:o

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On 11/2/2016 at 9:05 AM, HandyDan said:

I am thinking it was upholstered and used in a funeral home to lay the deceased on for viewing before the caskets became so ornate.  The bottom rungs were upholstered too to be used to kneel on to say a prayer.

 

  11081174_1616397278574559_2331469979987755014_n.jpg?oh=4826387b755a1f4bb86b36626d69e5ae&oe=58955E83

 

I think Dan has hit on something. If you look closely at the edge around the top there appears to be tacks left from upholstery.

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Just wondering.....  I'm guessing someone actually knows what this piece truly is and once someone has the correct answer this month's contest will be wrapped up  and a winner announced.  True?   If not, and no one really knows what this thing is, how is it possible to ever declare a winner?   Sorry, don't mean to kick up some dust, just trying to reason thru this.    

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32 minutes ago, Wil said:

Just wondering.....  I'm guessing someone actually knows what this piece truly is and once someone has the correct answer this month's contest will be wrapped up  and a winner announced.  True?   If not, and no one really knows what this thing is, how is it possible to ever declare a winner?   Sorry, don't mean to kick up some dust, just trying to reason thru this.    

Dust away Wil! It's a fair question.

Nobody knows what this is, not even MWTCA. In the spirit of this project we are here to help them figure out what the heck these items are. We have had some awesome recommendations of what they may be, but nobody has backed any of their suggestions up by any form of legitimate research in any of the "What's It's" up through to this months project.

You all have some wonderful suggestions of what these items are, but MWTCA requires a level of research before they will accept what an item is being called.

This item for this month, I feel is close, really close, all someone has to do is contact a professional in the funeral business perhaps, and have the description confirmed, but folks do not seem to want to go that extra step. We are so close too I feel!

The spirit of this project, ( I should not of called it a contest) is to help MWTCA in their research of the "What's It". There are no "Gotcha's" or hidden agendas.

Thanks Wil for kicking up the dust!

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Has anyone followed up with any contacts on this one yet? We are sooooo close I feel, just a verification from a pro in the funeral business should do. I still think it a display table for the deceased. I was heading in the direction of the embalming table, but the legs are too fancy, and the ledge on the side is telling me it's for praying or meditating at the side of the deceased. Embalming tables of the day back then were basic, simple in design. The turned legs and prayer ledge are compelling to a display table.

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went to antique/vintage embalming tables and vintage operating tables...

so many images of close it's not funny...

Civil and WWI had the closest matches...

vintage wooden field hospital table pictures produced a couple too...

but no exact matches... lotsa variables...

can the ''kneelers'' have been added for someone that is vertically challenged...

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