Historic Origin of 'Chairman of the Board'

Going back to the Middle Ages (1150-1550), the dining table was constructed in two parts for easy disassembling, making room for other activities in the main hall: 1. the top from the Latin Tabula (board), and 2. the supporting base. So at meals, the head of the house sat in an ornamented chair at the 'tabula', while everyone else sat on stools or benches. Chairman of the board is derived from the medieval practice of acknowledging the status of the head of the household who was seated at the only chair at the board.

1 comment:

  1. I heard this exact same explanation years ago on a tour around Sulgrave Manor {built in the 1500's. Also a suggestion that as the table was a board and used one side for preparing food, cutting chopping, thus making it rough one side and turned over to eat off the smooth side. Thus the phrase "take the rough with the smooth"?