A round walnut 'Mudie's Squeezer Card Table'.
The design of this table adheres to patent 2746 of 1898 which probably refers to the locking action of the folding legs. They fold on angled support struts that are fitted to slide along bars to the underside of the table. When they reach their end they are locked in place by a sprung wooden bar. The legs are made as pairs which are hinged to the underside of the table. This is a well-made piece of furniture from the panelled underside of the top to using 3, as opposed to the normal 2, hinges to fix the legs. The edge of the table is fitted with a brass band which offers some protection when folded and resting on its side.
The large label to the underside of the table gives away its title and also notes their 15 Coventry Street address. It is possible the name Squeezer is supposed to suggest that the table can be stored in a tight space but this is speculation. However, it was a name that the company were fond of as they also produced Mudie's Squeezer Pen. They are known to have also sold a more common square version of this table. Early 20th Century.
The London trade directories list Mudie & Sons as stationers and News Vendors but they offered far more than that. Thomas Mudie, a Scot living in Cheyne Walk, London started the business in the very early 1800s as a newspaper agent and second hand bookseller who also lent books for a penny. It was Thomas' son, Charles (born in 1818) who grew the company. In 1840 he moved the business to 28 Upper King Street. They were stationers and booksellers but also published. Charles was the right man at the right time and recognised the public's desire for new literature was hampered by the high cost of buying a new book.
Mudie are said to have originated lending libraries where by for a yearly subscription of 1 guinea a customer could borrow an unlimited number of books. This met the hunger for reading by many of the middle classes who could not afford to buy books. They also imported fiction books from America and held a strong influence on Victorian literature with the strength of their buying power and ability to get new publications out to the masses. By 1860, Mudie & Sons had increased their London branches and also opened in Birmingham and Manchester. They had over 25,000 subscribers and could buy 1000s of copies of a new title at a time. Mudie's Select Library Limited was known to have London premises at 30 to 34 New Oxford Street, 32 Kensington High Street and 48 Queen Victoria Street.
As this games board shows they didn't limit themselves to books and are known to have also sold playing cards, bezique sets and other games. Although they cannot be considered makers of campaign furniture they did sell a number of folding items for both domestic use and travel.
Mudie's main London premises were at 15 Coventry Street off Haymarket. In 1852 they also noted No. 14, next door in their address. The company had a long existence and were still at Coventry Street in 1914.