Who invented the First Table? (Invention Timeline Explained)

There are some inventions out there that nobody ever questions no matter the scenario. For example, have you ever wondered about tables? Probably not, right? What about the history of tables? It’d be pretty amazing if even one person said yes to that. That said, it’s also a shame as tables — like most seemingly mundane inventions — have some incredible history behind it. It might come as a surprise just how much you can learn from a seemingly simple invention.

If you want to take a little detour into the wonderful world of tables and its evolution, why not tag along? It’s always fun to learn something new, and for most people, the history of the table is undoubtedly new.

Who invented the first table?

For those well aware of simple inventions and their origins, the answer won’t come as a surprise at all. The ancient Egyptians are credited as the first people to invent the first table. While many were simple stone platforms, there were some examples of wooden tables found in tombs.

The first table’s key contributors (and evolution)

  • Egyptians
    The masters of simple inventions

    If there’s a simple invention, chances are it got its start in ancient Egypt. The very first tables were found in Egypt, with stone and wooden variations.

  • Chinese
    Used tables to pursue the arts

    The ancient Chinese loved writing and painting, and they developed tables specifically to pursue the arts.

  • Greeks
    Made frequent use of tables

    The early Greeks had an interesting take on tables — pushing the pieces of furniture under the bed after use. They had various designs, especially since tables could be built however one wanted.

  • Romans
    Introduced the mensa lunata

    The Romans were quite similar to the Greeks as far as tables went. The one thing of note was their invention of the large, semi-circular table called the mensa lunata.

  • Europeans
    Further developed the concept of tables

    At this point, the concept of tables were very much fully solidified. What was left was the creation of something more grand, which led to the invention of the refectory table. The refectory table was built to be highly elongated, and was often present in grand dining halls and monasteries.

When was the first table invented?

The very first tables were found in Egypt dated to around 2500 BC. The tables were made using wood and alabaster, and were often used as simple platforms. There were some tables used for food, while others were used as platforms for games.

A brief history of the first table

It might seem like a simple invention such as the table wouldn’t have a storied history, but the fact that it’s a simple invention is what guarantees a rich history. It increases the odds of even ancient people making good use of it. In this case, the earliest evidence of tables were found in Egypt, dated around 2500 BC. These tables were made using wood and alabaster, and were no more than simple platforms for the most part. 

They’re a far cry from the ancient Chinese, who used tables to pursue the arts such as writing and painting.

The growth of tables into a household staple would get its start in Greece and Rome, where the Greeks and Romans used tables much like we might in today’s modern society. There were a few differences, of course, such as the Greeks placing the table under the bed after use. The Romans would also create a new semi-circular table known as the mensa lunata.

While the Medieval ages don’t have too many examples of tables, the Europeans certainly had a habit of making everything grand. In the case of the table, it was the creation of the refectory table — an elongated piece of furniture that was primarily used for large dining halls. It was the refectory table that would have a spot of honor in a castle, as a large table that can accommodate dozens of people is a grand sight during a castle feast.

The development of the table was basically completed early on, as its use hasn’t changed much over the years. The modern age utilizes tables much the same way as the ancient civilizations did!

The first table timeline

  1. 2500 BC
    Tables of the Egyptians

    The tables of the ancientEgyptians were simpleplatforms, but it got the jobdone. They were made of woodand alabaster.

  2. 1500 BC
    Tables of the Chinese

    These tables were developed specifically to help the Chinese with writing and painting.

  3. 750 BC
    Tables of the Greeks

    Greek tables varied in size and shape, and were put under the bed after use.

  4. 700 BC
    Tables of the Romans

    Roman tables were much the same as the Greeks, though they did invent the mensa lunata.

  5. 1500 AD
    Tables of the Europeans

    The concept of the table has not changed, but the Europeans did switch things up in a grand way when they invented the refectory table.

Where was the first table invented?

The first table got its start in ancient Egypt. 

The importance of the table

  • It brings families together

    When it comes to bringing a family together, there’s nothing quite like the dining table. The table is the one piece of furniture that can help you and your loved ones bond outside of the family couch!

  • Accomplishes so much with so little

    It’s amazing just how much tables accomplish despite its simple design. Tables are basically an elevated platform, yet somehow it offers so much.

  • A household essential

    It’s hard to imagine any home without a table. People will naturally look for tables in a home, similar to searching for a bed in the master’s bedroom!

  • A psychological significance

    There’s no denying that people are often comforted by top-quality tables. Homes are never quite complete without a proper table. It has a psychological significance that isn’t going out of style anytime soon.

The first table by the numbers

  • 40Considering the humble beginnings of the table, it’s crazy to think that there are over 40 different types of table you can use. Even better, each table has its own set of subtypes — the possibilities are endless!
  • 48The average table is about 48 inches long. That’s long enough to comfortably seat about four people. 
  • 4The average number of legs on a table is 4, as it’s often all that’s needed to keep the table upright. That said, there are table designs with more than 4 legs for extra support.
  • 17The drum table — a round, heavy table — was invented in the 17th century.

Five facts about the first table

  • The chair and table combination

    When you think about the invention of the table, it’s natural to also think about the invention of the chair. The funny thing is that both the chair and table share the invention date. In many ways, the ground was the first chair!

  • Both form and function

    The table is the kind of furniture that offers both function and form. For example, the dining table’s uses are obvious, but the accent and bedside table is a little more flexible when it comes to overall use. In most cases, tables can be used in a variety of situations.

  • An interior decoration staple

    It’s not easy to imagine any home without a top-quality table. It’s an interior decoration staple, and many professionals will choose other pieces of furniture based on how well they work together with the table.

  • One size fits all

    The reason why the table is so useful is you can accomplish so much with something so simple. If it’s low enough, you can kick back and rest your legs. You can use it for eating, or you can place your laptop on top and get to work.

  • A timeless design

    The thing about the table is that it never needed too much improvement, which is why the overall design doesn’t change. The table is undoubtedly a timeless design.

FAQ about the table

  • How do I choose which table I need for my home?

    It all depends on the room you’re currently looking into. For example, if it’s the living room, you might want to go with an accent table, as you can place it next to the sofa. The dining room, of course, would never be complete without a dining table. In most cases, the question answers itself.

  • Why does it feel so empty without a table?

    It’s strange, isn’t it? If a home doesn’t have a table, people notice it right away. Even if you have no need for a table, the house will look oddly empty without it. There’s a kind of psychological effect due to how long the table’s been a part of modern society.

  • Will tables always be relevant?

    The table’s about as relevant as the chair. There’s no denying that both the table and the chair will never go out of style. We’ll always need these crucial pieces of furniture for our homes.

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