Growing up my father had a number of these stationed around the house. Later I would come to realize how cool they actually are. Also, known as a "soda syphon" this device is used to dispense soda water or carbonated beverages. It originated in France around 1790 with the introduction of self-pressurized beverages, but it wasn't until 1829 that they created the design you see today. The glass bottles have a hollow corkscrew which allows a certain amount of the beverage out while the remaining contents stay carbonated. These beautiful glass syphons were most popular in the 1920's-1930's, but the advancements in production and materials, and the destruction of many manufacturers in Eastern Europe during WWII led to their ultimate demise. That makes them not only a nice addition to your table top or bar area, but a collectors item as well.
The image below from Country Living shows an amazing use of different materials in the kitchen. The wood adds an element of warmth against the coolness of the marble countertop and dark grey cabinetry. Be careful though. When installing a wood surface in the kitchen, using the right sealer is key. If you plan on using it for a cutting surface make sure you use a sealer made for contact with food. Otherwise, use a good wood sealer to keep out moisture and bring out the color.