This table, c1900, is a specimen of inlaid woodwork constructed by Robson Dowson (1858-1926), the father of donor.
It contains 102 different kinds of wood gathered from many parts of the country. The top of the table lifts off the legs. Dimensions: Top 28" x 43"; 31" tall. The mahogany legs of the table are carved out by hand with a jack-knife, the entire construction is hand-made work, no machinery being used. The main feature is a map of Iowa inlaid over the top, showing each county cut out in proper size and shape from a different kind of wood being 1/16th of an inch thick.
Note: This table was received by the late E.R. Harlan, Curator probably in 1934 or 1935 but no record was ever made of receiving same, nor had there been any accession or catalog card made of the same
2003 note: the table was received in 1934/1935 but not recorded until 1947
--Hector Dowson wrote in 1945 that his father made it about "48 years ago." While the record states the legs were handcarved, it gives all indications of being a factory-made base with a truned center-post and joinery typical of late 19th century production work. The center support is turned. It is probable that the veneers on top could be fitted using a pocket knife.
Robson Dowson was born in Louisa county, served at Fort McKinney in Wyoming (1880 census--see file). He likely lived in Wyoming until at least 1889 as two of his children list that as their birth state in the 1900 census. He has returned to Iowa by 1895 as indicated in the state census. Dowson is listed as a farmer in 1900 for the federal census in Concord township, Louisa County. He is buried in Indian Creek cemetery in Concord township. (2016)