The Historical Text Archive: Electronic History Resources, online since 1990 Bringing you digitized history, primary and secondary sources


When you think of a desk many of us envision sitting in our high school English class being bored to death.

It was not until people started to speak and write that the desk became an everyday tool in education. Many of us have spent countless hours sitting behind a desk trying to learn Mathematics, English, Social studies and even a foreign language. The picture of the perfectly inline rows of wooden desks is a symbol of the classroom.

Desks now can come in many shapes and sizes, as well as made of materials such as metal and various types of wood.

In today’s work place there has been placed a greater emphasis on the workers health. In doing so the fundamental design has changed to improve the over all look and feel (sometimes called ergonomics) of the desk.

In the last ten years ergonomics has become a major issue with people spending longer hours sitting at their desks. One common problem for secretaries is called carpel tunnel syndrome. This problem is caused by a combination of improper seating and by constantly having your wrist bent while typing. This continuous bending of the wrists leads to decreased circulation over long periods of time.

One of the solutions for this problem was to redesign the secretarial work desk. With these new ergonomically designed desks a person sits slightly higher and over the desk versus under the desk in the traditional position.

A desk can also be a status symbol for an executive. The higher one goes in a corporation the larger and more expensive of a desk they can purchase. Currently you can buy a desk for as low as $39.99 at your local Wal-Mart or you can go to the top of the spectrum and purchase a solid mahogany desk for over $10,000.00

The desk is here to stay and will continue to be refined to better help the student, secretary and the executive.