Definition: Originally, a table consisting of a tray atop a folding stand, probably developed in England in the mid-1700s; the earliest stands consisted of two X-frames, but later could also consist of four legs often joined by an X-frame; the tray can be rectangular with a fixed gallery or, in the most familiar Chippendale-style variation, have a rectangular center with prominent hinged sides that form an oval when extended; in either case, the tray sides have slots that function as handholds.
The butler's table originated as a two-piece, portable item of furniture - typical of the light, easily moveable furniture developed in the 18th century; in the early 20th century, as part of the Colonial Revival style, manufacturers developed tables with the tray no longer detachable, but affixed to the stand or four-legged base.
Also Known As: butler's tray table
Alternate Spelling: butlers table
Example: In antiques shops nowadays, it is quite common to find a butler's table that consists of an antique 18th or 19th-century tray attached to a 20th-century stand that has been built to match.