The first specialist reading tables usually consisted of a lift up flap on a small table however more elaborate designs soon followed with adjustable slopes, height adjustment and pull out drawers. The best tables of this early period were made of mahogany and walnut.
In Victorian times designs became more sophisticated and sometime served dual purposes for both reading and music stands. Dual or duet stands become popular.
At the end of the 19thC and the early part of the 20thC several companies produced patent designs for multi-functional tables and stands. English furniture makers such as "Carters" (e.g the Carter's Literary Machine), Levenson and J Foot of London produced catalogues showing the many designs they had patented and produced.
Antiquedesks.net has specialised in the restoration and sale of antique and vintage reading tables and music stands for many years - examples of tables by both Carters, Foot and Levenson can be seen on our website by following the following link to our dedicated page on this subject where descriptions and photos can be viewed. Antiquedesks - Reading Tables