Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Standing Desks: Jefferson, Disraeli, Churchill and, Err, Dwight K. Schrute

Stand up desks are becoming quite hip, even making it onto an episode of The Office. And speaking of hips (and, indeed, lower backs), I cured a persistent pain issue by standing to type for 2/3 of my day/night work hours. The evidence seems conclusive that sitting all day is terrible for your lumbar spine, increases the risk of heart disease and piles on the pounds like you’ve done on a Kansas City barbecue-only diet.

One thing that’s also for sure, although often overlooked, is that standing to write is nothing new. Thomas Jefferson designed a six-legged standing desk, the extra pegs adding stability. The great British statesman Benjamin Disraeli, like many of his Victorian age, preferred to be on his feet when writing. And, though he far preferred dictation as his primary composition method, Disraeli’s countryman and fellow prime minister, Winston Churchill, followed suit when he picked up his fountain pen.

And elevated desks have not been confined to the offices of heads of state. Ernest Hemingwayconsidered it soft to sit (OK, I have NO basis for that, but I can imagine him growling something similar) and, before him, Charles Dickens and Virginia Woolf scrawled away at a standing desk. More recent proponents include Philip Roth.

Click here to keep reading at the blog of Boston University's Historical Society

No comments:

Post a Comment