The joints are offset in accordance with standard railroad practice to allow the train to safely oscillate left and right and those breaks generate the rhythmic click-clack sound that has inspired countless songwriters. So we found it only fitting that we use the rail from the Tennessee Coal & Iron Company (TCI Co).
With over 100 years of service in each piece of rail, the clearly visible brand reading TCI Co Open Hearth 07 AS ||| 04 evidences the history of that section of rail. The inverted and backwards lettering further speaks to the hand-crafted heritage of the materials. Manufactured using the relatively new Open Hearth process, the rail weighs 70 pounds per yard and has a profile defines by the AS marking. The ||| 04 identifies its date of manufacture as March of 1904.
Slightly newer rail tops the table with a piece of Tennessee rail from 1943, the same year “Night Train to Memphis” was released by country music legend Roy Acuff. An engine burn distinguishes the reason for this rail’s removal from service. The result of locomotive wheel that slipped under acceleration, the rail was superheated and damaged – but you can tell people that it comes from wearing out that spot slipping serves over the net. The remaining visible wear all along the head (top) of the rail is “flow” from the 60+ years of moving trains across the rail. The steel “netting” meets the ITTF (International Table Tennis Foundation) regulation height and width, but we include a tradition regulation net for the less rugged player.
Crafted from oak and hickory timbers, the base is equally extraordinary as these are untreated crosstie culls salvaged from the tie plant. Imbued with imperfections, the manufacturer pulls them aside before the application of creosote. As a result, we are able to use entirely natural virgin timber in our fine furniture.
The metal number 21 on the piece is an authentic railroad date nail from 1921 scavenged from an abandoned railbed. Until the 1960’s most ties were marked with the year of manufacture using these types of nails. We use date nails to individually number and catalog our work.