Today, any desk can be a computer desk. In this age of smaller desktop computer systems, virtually any desk can be used for your computer. Laptop computers are becoming more popular and have changed the way we look at our work environment. Computer Desks and computer armoires have become part of list of home furniture necessities.
In the early days of the personal computer, electric typewriters, Dictaphones and other types of electronic office furniture and equipment were still in wide use. As for early personal computers, the typical setup included the computer, or CPU, the keyboard and a monitor. Early monitors for PCs were on the small side and were often placed atop the CPU. As the size of the monitor increased, the CPU found itself pushed off to the side.
The CPUs of early personal computers had to close at hand for a reason. The first personal computers did not have hard disk drives and the practice of networking personal computers together was still in the planning stages. With no hard drive, the CPU typically had two or more floppy disk drives. In order to access various software programs and data files, the user needed to constantly exchange disks. The cabinet or CPU enclosure could by quite large and took up lots of space.
As video technology advanced, the size of the monitors grew larger. Since the video technology of the time was based on the soon to be obsolete cathode ray tube. Early computer monitors were essentially televisions without the tuner. Just as with television, the larger the monitor screen, the larger the CRT had to be.
Throw in enough room for the keyboard and it is easy to see that users of early personal computers really had a desk full of equipment to contend with. Now add all of the floppy disks and a telephone and very little room was left over for what might be described as desk work.
The Incredible Shrinking Computer
Through the nineteen nineties, the desktop personal computer started to go through a facelift of sorts. The flat boxes that had made up the CPU enclosure were turned on end. These tower enclosures created more space on the average desk in two important ways. The tower design had a much smaller footprint, taking up less room on the desk. Tower enclosures could also be placed on the floor near the desk, creating even more work space. This left only the monitor and the keyboard on the desktop.
Even the monitor became less of beast as liquid crystal display technology became more affordable. The LCD monitor presented a flat screen in a very thin housing, allowing the user to have a much larger display that took up less desktop space.
Enter Computer Desks and Armoires
As personal computer sales grew, so did the demand for desks and work stations which provided adequate work space and a clean appearance. Largely due the efforts of companies like Sauder Furniture, specialized computer desks and computer armoires found a ready market. In the early nineteen hundreds, Sauder introduced a line of enclosed computer work stations for the home furniture market. The pieces introduced by Sauder were based on the companys popular concept of ready to assemble furniture.
Additional equipment such as printers and scanners, along with storage space for computer accessories like user manuals and diskettes drove the design of the computer desk. Multi tiered desktops, storage cabinets and predrilled holes for cables and wires afforded users the opportunity to better organize their work space.
Computer armoires were an instant market success. Taking a cue from the ages old clothing armoire, makers of computer furniture like Sauder, designed computer work stations that made very efficient use of space. Users are able to store and have access to the computer and all of the peripheral equipment in a single unit that could be closed when not needed. Specialized office chairs are available that can be stored in the armoire saving even more space.
Ergonomics Takes a Turn
As the use of computers in business grew, workers found themselves spending more time face to face with their monitor. Typing at a keyboard grew beyond clerical workers working at a typewriter. Computer centered work became a daily activity of workers up and down the corporate food chain. Facing a computer monitor and clacking away at a keyboard for hours a day brought some problems to light. Worker found themselves with neck strain and wrist problems. Lower back strain was also seen in some workers.
The science of occupational ergonomics stepped in to try to resolve the problem. Studies concluded that the position of the head, wrist and back was critical to ensuring worker comfort and productivity. Researchers discovered that looking straight ahead or slightly down at the monitor eased neck and back strain. Keyboard trays were lowered slightly to put the wrists, hands and arms in proper alignment. Computer desk designs began to incorporate standards for keyboard height and monitor position.
Computer Desks as Standard Equipment
Home computers have become almost as ubiquitous as the television. As the cost continues drop, the popularity of personal home computers continues to grow every year. Computer desks, computer armoires and other types of computer related furniture have become standard equipment in many homes. The advent of digital photography has increased the popularity of home computers as average folks take advantage of the exciting technology. Computer desks can provide space to safely store all of our peripheral electronics like cameras, battery chargers and photo printers.