The Georgian 'D' end dining table of the late 18th Century was formed in sections which effectively included a pair of console ends, a drop leaf centre section and extension leaves. The under structure of the consoles and drop leaf centre simply had gating legs to support the extension leaves and theory has it that after dinner Jeeves would break down the table to the side of the room for post dinner dancing.
For a brief period, we believe due to timber shortage whilst battle of the seas with Napoleon disabled the merchant routes brining in the mahogany timbers, the Regency pedestal table was made using the same sectional format as the 'D' end but instead of gating legs the extension leaves simply suspend between the sections on sabre leg bases.
In the early 19th Century Gillows of Lancaster produced his furniture directory which included illustration of the Gillow 'Imperial' dining table which was formed with console ends enclosing a box section runner system so now a table could not only break down to the side of the room but also be joined at the middle to form a one piece extending dining table with varying extension leaves. At around the same time Wilkinson patented his concertina action table that often had brass flange hinges to the scissor action. This concertina action was inserted within a large scale Pembroke design or fold over type so quite literally became a side table when not in use. Albeit a fantastic invention, seemingly the runner system prevailed and very few concertina systems seen post around C1825.
Through the William IV period the Gillows two part console extending tables had become a single unit with heavier gauge of legs and runner system to allow spanning of up to 14ft between legs with the now very substantial runners. Albeit ther were some earlier steel winding mechanisms it Was Joseph Fitter of Birmingham that began mass production of the steel winder and pretty much from C1850 all extending dining tables included the Joseph Fitter system to allow a single person to easily extend a dining table.
The Victorian period was dominated by production of the classic format of extending dining table - leg on each corner of rectangular, round and oval formed tables with multiple extension leaves to adjust length. Predominantly made in mahogany until we lost the Colonies and were forced to revert to English oak and walnut for the latter part of the 19th Century and into Edwardian period. There are Victorian dining tables that extend up to 26ft long from a base size of around 5ft with immense runner systems and steel winders the size of a ships drive shaft but typical sizes would be 10ft or 12ft for a well commisioned quality table that we have available today.