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Mixing table, probably made in Massachusetts about 1750. ID: 57.97.1

December 2004

During the holiday season, a lot of folks celebrate by imbibing a glass of wine or a cup of eggnog—if only at that one time of the year.  During the 1700s, however, holiday celebrations provided just one of the opportunities for drinking alcohol. Alcohol was consumed in astonishing amounts by all classes and genders all year long! 


MORE: Cheers!

Imaginative alcoholic concoctions were a feature of the drinking parties at which men developed business connections and cemented friendships.  Even at tea parties of the well-to-do, the cup of tea might be well laced with rum or brandy.  It’s not surprising, then, that special furniture was purchased by middle and upper class households for the sole purpose of mixing punch and serving drinks.

This table, probably made in Marblehead, Massachusetts, during the mid-1700s, was designed for serving beverages.  It is constructed of pine and maple which is painted black (although the paint color might originally have been red).  The top of the table is made with very fashionable and quite expensive tiles.  Intended to impress, these tiles also had a practical purpose.  They would be impervious to damage from spilled alcoholic drinks or hot water if the table was used to make and serve tea.

Henry Prebys
Curator of Domestic Life


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