The London furniture-maker Robert Jupe submitted a permit for a patent for the design of An Improved Expanding Table (no. 6788) on March 11, 1835. The patent was "to construct an expanding table, that the sections which compose the surface of the original or unexpanded table may be caused to diverge from a common centre, so that the table may be enlarged or expanded by inserting leaves or pieces in the openings or spaces caused by the divergence of the sections from the common centre."
Jupe was granted the patent on September 11, 1835, and began making tables with John Johnstone of 67 New Bond Street. The mechanism for the present example contains a brass boss to the central mechanism engraved JUPES PATENT. Each table was made to "accommodate itself to the wants of society" in an ingenious feat of engineering and mechanics that allowed for two different sizes of leaves to be inserted, resulting in one table that has three different diameters.
Inevitably, such a clever invention was almost immediately imitated by others. This resulted in a “Novelty. Infringement.” case, Jupe versus Pratt, September 6, 1836, where “Robert Jupe's patent for an expanding table, - (was) sustained as a novel invention.” In 1840, Jupe left to form his own company and relocated to 47 Welbeck Street, Cavendish Square.
The present table can be expanded to an unusually large size: when closed, the diameter is 5 feet 7 inches; when extended, the diameter is 6 feet 10 inches; fully extended the diameter is 8 feet 2 inches, almost 2 ½ feet wider in diameter than when closed. There is also a leaf-cabinet, the top of the door stamped Johnstone Jupe & Co / New Bond St / London 8247, for the two complete sets of leaves. The larger leaves are numbered 1-8, the first also bearing the number 8674.
-- Research contributed by Leigh Kendrick, Furniture & Decorative Arts Department
English & Continental Furniture & Decorations