This section is from the book "The Steward's Handbook And Guide To Party Catering", by Jessup Whitehead. Also available from Amazon: Larousse Gastronomique.
The inventors have a long way to travel before their tables can beat the magical appearance and disappearance of some tables I have seen in well managed hotels. Take this instance of preparation for a ball supper: There was but one room in the hotel large enough to dance in, and that was the dining room. It was also the only room in which to serve the supper. The question was how to use it for both purposes at once without an awkward break in the festivities, and as it was a grand ball, instead of a social hop, a "handed-round supper" would not do. There were two side rooms which opened into the dining room and also on the outside, and in these, without the least sign apparent to the guests, six long tables were set complete with flowers, lights, decorated pieces, salads, sweets, meats, ices, etc., everything except coffee. It was arranged with the musicians and the floor manager and at a certain time by the clock the company were led in a march to the further end, out of one door, through a bay-windowed conservatory and back into the dining room through another door, and as they entered they saw, where they had been dancing but five minutes before, a brilliant set table nearly the whole length of the room. They said, of course, it was more like magic than common reality.
If any of them had turned their head, like Lot's wife, while they were marching, they would have seen the tables following them, for at the same signal each of the six tables had been taken up by four waiting men and carried as it was to the place previously marked for it. When the supper was over the tables were carried out with like expedition.