My 1940’s Beauty That I Almost Walked Away From

My 1940’s Beauty That I Almost Walked Away From

It was the summer of 2011 and I had a grand vision.  We had a small dining area in our house and our small dining table had served its use.  I really wanted a nice table that would fit the space but also would expand for extra guests.  I had 4 decent chairs so I just needed to replace the wobbly round table I had. Since I had a 1940s kitchen vibe and decor, I decided to research what an average kitchen from the 1940s looked like.

Then I saw what I wanted:  An enamel top table.

Each one I found seemed unique and beautifully made and came with varied designs and styles. They had a little drawer for silverware or napkins. The best thing about them is that they had leaves tucked under that expanded the table. PER.FECT.  

Since there is no Wikipedia page on the history of these gems (someone please make that happen) I tried to find what I could from the internet.  

It seems they were popular in the 1930s-1940s.  I couldn’t find any specific companies that manufactured them, just the above ad showing that Sears had sold them.  Harmony House, mentioned in the Sears ad, was just a collection of goods not a manufacturer. 

I found that tables with wooden legs were made in the 1930s and the metal curved legs were more popular in the 1940s.  The 50s era ushered in the chrome and formica dinette sets that must have put an end to manufacturing the enamel tops.

Finding one in good condition could be hard.  I had decided that I would try and pay around $60 for one.  The World’s Longest Yard Sale was coming up and I was hoping I would find my prize there for the price I wanted.  

We were day 3 into our trip and all Mel and I had seen were 2 that were overpriced, and a set of enamel panels that at one point were attached to a table.  

I was willing to get black and white, or even the pretty jade green like I had seen online.  But red is what I had pictured for my kitchen. So we kept searching.

Toward the end of the day we were at a barn sale with other vendors that rent tent space.  A dollar table with old tins grabbed my attention, but further into the tent….I saw it.

It was covered with items for sale but I could see a white shiny top.  AND RED. I searched for a price. Ugh. $125. Better than I had seen, but not what I wanted to pay.  Mel and I soul searched and I decided I needed to walk away since it was so high. Just then the nice vendor came over after noticing me admiring it.  He convinced me to clear it off and look at it. BEAUTIFUL.

Only some minor nicks were in the top.  The drawer was missing and the legs were corroded some, but still solid.  And the leaf slid out to reveal more shiny unblemished enamel.

He told me it came out of a barn in Indiana.  Since they were leaving in the morning he offered to make a deal.  I told him sadly it was more than I wanted to pay but it was exactly what I wanted.  He asked what I was considering, and I felt bad telling him $60. He paused, and signaled over to a lady at the other end of the booth. “I tell you what.  You go tell her that you would be willing to pay $60 and see what she says.” I did as he suggested, and was shook when she offered back, “How about $65?” SOLD.  No hesitation. They didn’t want to take it back to Indiana and I was happy to lighten their load.

We got it home, and as it entered our house one of the legs fell off.   We even found proof it had been in a barn when stray dried corn kernels fell out as well!

The leg was an easy fix with some screws and my husband got it back on its feet soon after.  The skirt of the table even matched our chairs perfectly.

It now shines bright with new chairs in our dining room and I treat that surface like a shiny new car.  I love its story and how it came to live with me. It proves that the perfect deal can be out there if you have the guts to bargain.  

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