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THE HISTORY OF THE STANDING DESK

January 26, 2015

HISTORY DESKS

The idea of the standing desk may seem like a modern concept, however it is one that is as old as time. This alternative way of working has proven to users over the centuries that keeping the body active while on the job promotes efficiency and focus as well many physical health benefits; think lowered cholesterol, decrease risk of heart failure, diabetes, and more. From presidents to philosophers, some of the greatest minds in mankind’s history have utilized the standing desk to further themselves and their nations.

JEFFERSON

THOMAS JEFFERSON

One of our founding fathers and the third President of the United States, Thomas Jefferson not only utilized the standing desk but pioneered one of his own designs dubbed the “tall desk.” Jefferson’s podium-like invention featured six legs and an adjustable work surface which was used for drafting architectural plans. Perhaps Monticello wouldn’t be what it is today without his creative juices properly flowing at his standing desk.

DICKENS

CHARLES DICKENS

This literary genius from the 18th century penned some of his most famous characters at a standing workstation –  Oliver Twist or David Copperfield, anyone? In the historical biography Charles Dickens: A Life Defined by Writing, author Michael Slater cites Elizabeth Gaskell, once a houseguest of Dickens, and her account of visiting his study,” books all round, up to the ceiling and down to the ground; a standing-desk at which he writes; and all manner of comfortable easy chairs.”

KIERKEGAARD

SØREN KIERKEGAARD

The famed Danish philosopher worked at not one but two standing desks, marinating his thoughts while transitioning from one post to the other. It was this physical movement that rendered his unique ability for exploring the profound realm of the mind with such energy and intensity, making him one of the greatest minds in the history of Western philosophy.

VIRGINIA WOOLF

VIRGINIA WOOLF

Until the later years of her life, the tortured and innovative author warped and weaved her literary masterpieces to completion while standing. “[She] had a standing desk that stood three-feet six-inches tall with a high sloping top,” according to Woolf’s nephew and biographer Quentin Bell, whom recounts the many facets of her creative process in his books.

HEMINGWAY

ERNEST HEMINGWAY

Fashioned from an old bookcase, Ernest Hemingway’s famous typewriter sat atop a standing workstation. Adopting the active work method from his editor at Charles Scribner’s Sons, Hemingway’s creativity was stimulated by the upright position, helping pave the way to a Nobel Prize in Literature.

CHURCHILL

WINSTON CHURCHILL

Winston Churchill was a stalwart man whom earned his valiant reputation from his unwavering efforts in halting the Third Reich. His secret? Staying alert and standing tall as he poured over tactics and composed compelling speeches at his tall desk.

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