The size of the mahogany Universal Table can be considered small and it works well as a centre or side table without the leaves.
The design is in Thomas Sheraton's The Cabinet-Maker and Upholsterer's Drawing Book of 1791 and as he noted is 'extended by means of draw leaves, and fitted with raking slides.' When the top is lifted up, a leaf to either side can be pulled out from underneath and is then supported by a raking slide. Brass catches and steel pins hold the 3 parts of the top in place. Besides enlarging the table it is also very practical because you don't have extra legs getting in the way of the diners. There is one long drawer that is quartered by dividers, with one half also having a further 6 removable short dividers. It is lined in mahogany and has brass swan neck handles. The top edge of the drawer is finished with a simple line mould cut in and the drawer front has a beaded edge. The legs have long brass cup castors and steel bolts which fit into 5 inch long, right angled steel plates set into the underside of the table. The large size of these plates, coupled with the fact that 8 screws have been used to fix them shows that they were intended to strengthen the table as well as receive the legs. Each leg is numbered with a simple chisel line between 1 and 4.
This size of this table is such that it would have been practical for a number of uses by an officer. It can act as a desk, a centre or side table and be extended to entertain fellow officers. Circa 1800.
Extended size is 56 1/2 inches