piece of furniture designed to hold plates, decanters, side dishes, and other accessories for a meal and frequently containing cupboards and drawers. When the word first appeared in the Middle Ages as an alternative to "side table," it described a stepped structure used (as sideboards often have been) for the display of conspicuously valuable eating utensils. It preserved a basic table shape (sometimes with eight legs) until the 18th century. The first innovation was the substitution of hollow storage pedestals. Drawers (for napkins, cutlery, and the like) were added in the space beneath the main surface and between the pedestals. A serpentine front was popular in the latter half of the 18th century; other additions consisted of a marble top and a brass rail at the back, partly for protecting the wall, partly for propping up large plates and similar objects. In some examples a wine cooler is incorporated into the main structure of the sideboard, and there were often spaces for chamber pots.
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