What is an Antique Dumb Waiter?

Victorian Mahogany Antique dumb waiter / Buffet

An antique dumb waiter is basically a side serving table also known as a buffet which would be in a dining room for storing the food that is about to be served. Dumb waiters were often used in pairs in large houses from the mid-18th century. When the ladies retired after dinner, the dumb waiters were then placed at the end of the table by the footmen. This was then laden with alcoholic drink so the gentlemen could help themselves without too much exertion. Because the staff had retired for the evening, the conversation could open up more, hence the name dumb waiter.

Most Dumb waiters were split up over the years, so today it is very difficult to find a pair. Dumb waiters were used from the mid 1700’s through to the 1930’s and are actually very useful pieces of furniture. They come in different styles and usually have several tiers for storage. Now they are mainly used for storing towels or even as use as a bookcase or office piece. Check out our latest stock on our furniture page or email us to see what we have in stock. Also a look below at our lovely examples available for sale.

Styles of dumb Waiter

This was an unusual Amboyna, antique occasional table / Dumb Waiter ca, 1890 with purplewood banding, guilt edges and ebonised frame. The marvellous circular top sits above a swivelling base with gallery and is supported by a beautifully turned central pedestal with splayed legs. This wonderful piece was originally used to display cakes and would make an ideal bookstand.

Striking Victorian Amboyna Antique Small Occasional Table / Dumb Waiter

Dating from around 1880 in the Victorian era, this quality Mahogany Antique Side Server / Buffet has a moulded top with unusual marble insert.  This sits above two oak lined drawers with quality turned handles, moulded edges and rare double locking mechanism.  Beneath there are two beautifully figured shelves with turned upright supports and stands on turned bun feet.

victorian Mahogany Antique dumb waiter / Buffet

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