An antique does not have to serve a practical purpose in order to be appreciated. Many people collect decorative items that may look nice but that they never actually use for the item's intended purpose. Old kitchen gadgets, antique tools, and obsolete technology such as typewriters that grace our homes today serve primarily as conversation pieces.
To refurbish an object that is nostalgic and functional is very satisfying. These aluminum tables manufactured by General Fireproofing of Youngstown, Ohio were given a new lease on life when their tops were completely redone in tile.
These tables originally served duty in the old Isaly's Dairy store in Mansfield, Ohio. Both General Fireproofing and Isaly's Dairy had their headquarters in Youngstown by 1939, so it's not surprising Isaly's would have used General Fireproofing fixtures in its retail locations.
Today there is a greater interest in salvaging metal office furnishings such as desks, chairs and tables. Products are available expressly for the purpose of refurbishing these old pieces, removing rust and improving the sheen of aging steel or aluminum.
For this particular item, the linoleum table top surface was removed and replaced with small backsplash tile. An old-fashioned soda shop look was achieved by using white ceramic tile on one table, while square glass tile gave the other table a more contemporary appearance.
Go to your local hardware store to learn more about tiling techniques and materials. One extremely time-saving product is the tile setting mat available at places such as Home Depot.
2012 is going to be a great year for Cincinnatians to finish those projects they've been putting off. Don't give up on a vintage or antique piece of furniture. Plenty of information on refinishing all types of wood and metal furniture is available on the web, at your local library, and at your local hardware store.