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Typing Injury FAQ (6/6): Furniture Information

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Archive-name: typing-injury-faq/furniture
Version: @(#)computer_furniture 1.5 94/12/09 09:34:34

See reader questions & answers on this topic! - Help others by sharing your knowledge

This FAQ may be cited as:

     Baker, Carl P. and Dan Wallach (1995) "Typing Injury FAQ: Furniture

World-Wide-Web users will find this available as hypertext:

   * (Dan Wallach's page)

[Would you like to maintain this FAQ? The original author is looking for
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Meanwhile, send update info to <>.]

Rumors and calls for information

As I've currently got my needs for a comfortable workstation reasonably well
met, I'm no longer actively seeking furniture information for myself directly
from vendors. Thus, most further updates will be supplied by you, our readers.
You may note some furnitures listed with no known suppliers. If you can get
manufacturer or supplier information, I'd be glad to add it to the FAQ.

We've also had some interest in furniture for the disabled (or whatever the
current PC term is for people other than us TABs [Temporarily Able Bodied]). If
anyone is aware of furniture designed for non-TABs or has had any luck using or
modifying any commercially available furniture or knows about any companies who
manufacture equipment for non-TABs that could be persuaded to develop
something, please let me know.

Another request from someone interested in the specifics of specifying office
furniture: ...where I can locate reports or articles (preferably on-line) which
offer specific recommendations, guidelines, or formulas (the nuts and bolts)
for identifying ergonomically sound office furniture - and I don't just mean
furniture where just computing or typing tasks are performed.

For example, are you aware of anybody that has spelled out somewhere the
procedure for computing this? Perhaps there are programs that people have
designed to make such determinations based on an individual's measurements
being feed in?

We've also seen the Anthrocart furniture and Herman-Miller Equa chairs
recommended. Anyone having contact information available for either of these
vendors is encouraged to let us know.

Also from the rumor mill... ComputerVision has been listed in this FAQ in the
past as a source for computer furniture. However, they have not been in the
furniture business since about 1992. They are strictly a CAD/CAM software house
at this time. They are NOT in the process of selling their furniture. The
company is, to the best of our knowledge, healthy and prosperous and NOT on the
verge of bankruptcy. We apoligize if we have inadvertently started any rumours
to the contrary.


Most of the information presented here is quotes from the net, personal
experience, rumors, and other semi-reliable sources. The following have been
mentioned as possible references for anyone seeking actual accurate

   * Drury, C.G., and Coury, B.G. (1982). A Methodology for Chair Evaluation.
     Applied Ergonomics, 13, 195-202.
   * Grandjean, "Fitting the task to the Man"
   * Grandjean, "Ergonomics in Computerized Offices"


Furniture Information

OK, what we have here is a list of all the manufacturers of computer type
office furniture that I know of. The style of furniture and any known
dimensions are listed together with the addresses of the manufacturer (if
known) and any known suppliers. Also, I'll make a rough stab at what it would
cost to equip me with appropriate tableage for each manufacturer.

DISCLAIMER: I have no interest, financial or otherwise an any supplier listed
in this FAQ. I have not (at this point) done business with any of these
suppliers and have no information about their trustworthiness, reliability, or
ability to deliver the products they claim to sell.

For this purpose, you should know what equipment I'm using. I've got a sun
Sparcstation (Pizza box) with a 19 inch monitor (HUGE, 90 lbs), and external
(shoebox) hard disk, tape drive, and CD units. In my former office, all of this
equipment was set on a 30 inch by 60 inch by 30 inch high table. I was using
the table "sideways,~ meaning that I sat at the head of the table with the
keyboard in front of me, the monitor and pizza box behind the keyboard, and way
down at the other end of the table, were have the shoebox units.

I've since been updated to a "computer workstation" constructed of "modular
furniture." Basically, I've got a 30 inch deep corner unit with 36 inch and 48
inch "wing" tables. All of this stuff is 30 inches high, but there is a
keyboard tray under the corner unit. I sit facing into the corner of the room
with the monitor on the table. The pizza box and the rest of the computer are
on the floor under the table. Overall, this is reasonably satisfactory.
However, it's not perfect. The tables are equipped with privacy panels that are
set in about 6 inches from the far edge of the tables. This prevents the use of
that space by the little roll-around file pedestals that I've been given. Also,
the holes through the table tops are on the far side of the privacy panel. This
makes it inconvenient to route the keyboard cable from a pizza box on the table
or behind the privacy panel out to the front of the system. Some pass-through
holes in the top of the privacy panel would fix this. Also, the keyboard tray
is only 24 inches wide. This is OK for me, as my trackball sits nicely on the
tray next to the keyboard. However, if I were using a mouse, it would be
completely unacceptable. I've had to order wider replacement trays for the five
machines in my computer lab. The drawer slides in the pedestals are very smooth
and work nicely. The slide for the keyboard tray requires that you lift the
tray a little before it will roll in and out. I can't decide if this is a bug
or a feature. I'm not sure who builds this stuff - there's a tag that says
"JAX" on the inside of the privacy panel.

First, some comments on "good" computer furniture. Generally, it is accepted
that keyboard heights should be in the range of 26.5 to 29 inches. This means
that whatever you have, it's too high. Many computer tables have some sort of
shelf, stand, or table which raises the monitor. I think that this is a real
mistake, as you end up hunched forward with your neck tilted back in order to
see the screen. This is particularly painful if you wear bifocals (I'm told).
Virtually all modern monitors offer some kind of tilt and swivel, so for the
furniture to provide this functionality is usually redundant and silly.

Many computers (such as mine) require a vast amount of table depth - I'm using
about 44 inches. One solution to this problem to to design a "corner" type
workstation which is designed to be placed facing into a corner with the users
back to the room. This is a convenient way to create the required depth, and
work tables can be placed on either side of the corner unit for a great deal of
usable work area. However, you can't see anyone come into your office (your
back is to the door), and I would expect that there would be a possibility of
severe glare problems (it's hard to move the screen around to get rid of

A further comment comes to this section from Chris Grant
     ... the most important aspect of computer furniture, besides having enough
     room for the monitor, is probably the thing that holds up the keyboard and
     mouse. Therefore it may be overkill to spend thousands on adjustable
     two-part tables if a $100 keyboard tray can be installed. And anybody in
     systems furniture has the chance to do another somewhat important item -
     lower the worksurface that the monitor sits on.


The furniture, sources, and my comments

Anthro Technology Furniture
          10450 SW Manhasset Drive
          Tulatin, OR 97062
          800-325-3841 or 503-691-2556

     [Review by Shawn Herzinger <>]

     I would recommend Anthro. Their stuff is quite expensive but very well
     built and designed IMHO. They were a spinoff company from Tektronix. They
     offer a glossy color catalog with desks, shelves and accessories in a
     variety of sizes and configurations. They stress ergonomics and offer
     adjustable keyboard shelves and monitor arms.

     I'm not affiliated, just a satisfied customer.

     Holliston, MA. Phone: 800-251-2225.

     Makes a nice sounding chair described below by Francis Favorini
          It's called the Executive Ergotech and lists for US $695-795
          depending on whether you get the high back and/or articulating arms.
          I got both. It has every adjustment you could want:

            1. Pneumatic seat height (5" range)
            2. Forward seat tilt - chair can be allowed to tilt both forward
               and backward or just backward.
            3. Tilt lock - chair can be locked at any tilt angle or float
            4. Tilt tension - controls recline tension, when tilt not locked.
            5. Backrest angle (relative to seat)
            6. Backrest height
            7. Lumbar support - self-inflating air cushion which can be
            8. Armrest width - how far apart armrests are. (5-6" range)
            9. Armrest height - 4 positions.
           10. Armrest swivel - 3 positions (straight, angled io/out), also can
               rotate freely if desired.
           11. Articulating armrests (optional) - "This is an exclusive
               Backsaver feature." -they say. Works well. Basically you can
               release the armrests so that they support your arms as you move
               them throughout the area of an approximately 9" radius circle
               (parallel to the plane of the seat). By locking part of the
               mechanism you can change this to 4" radius. I use this for

          Other Notes:
             + Armrests are padded and sculptured.
             + Seat is nicely sculptured, with waterfall front edge.
             + Base is plastic with 5 casters.
             + Other parts are plastic or metal. I give construction an A-.
             + Comes in four colors: Navy, Black, Grey, Burgundy.
             + Fabric appears to be a synthetic with coarse weave. Looks
             + Controls are well-labeled.
             + Regular seatback is 24"; high is 30".
             + Educational discount is available. (about 20%)

          They have a nice color glossy catalog with some other stuff in it.
          There are some good pictures of the chair, if someone wants to scan
          them. The description is a little skimpy, though. When I ordered the
          chair, they said 4 weeks for delivery. 5 weeks later when I called to
          find out where it was, they told me it was on back order, and I
          wouldn't get it for 3 more weeks. It then arrived more or less on

Bretford Mobile workstations
     These are basically a set of tubular frames carts on casters. Most of
     these place the monitor on a shelf above the keyboard surface. The only
     one that doesn't is basically a desk on wheels except that it is only 24
     inches deep. It is, however 26.5 inches high. Prices run from $223 to

     Known supplier: Husk office furniture and supplies
          327 W Clark
          PO Box 886
          Pasco, WA 99301

Communicore CAD system
     This is a "corner" type workstation - designed to be placed facing into a
     corner with the users back to the room. All units are 26.5 inches high and
     the extension tables are 30 inches deep. The workstation extension tables
     have an under-table storage shelf. Basically, you have the corner unit,
     the "plain" extension table, and the "tilting" extension table (useful for
     working from prints or other large paper). Additionally, there is
     something called a "workstation" which is neither shown in the picture
     that I have, nor described in the text. Prices run from $225 for a 36w x
     30d x 26.5h "workstation" (also available in 60w for $304) to $345 for the
     66w x 52d x 26.5h corner workstation. A basic setup (corner workstation,
     layout table and extension) would run about $900. The flaws with this are
     in the area of accessories - no drawer space, and no over work-surface
     shelf space (for manuals, not monitors).

     None known supplier at this time.

     This is a line of "ergonomic" workstations and "dense pack" racks for
     network installations. Basically, you buy a frame which can be fitted with
     legs, legs with casters, or attached to the wall. The top of this frame is
     about 70-78 inches above the floor; near the top is an adjustable shelf.
     To the bottom of the shelf is attached a "truck" which holds the monitor,
     allowing for the monitor to slide from side to side, tilt, or swivel. A
     "swing-arm" version of the monitor truck is available as well; this allows
     the monitor to be repositioned more freely. The frame can be fitted with a
     work surface (to which a keyboard holder can be attached) or with a
     digitizer support frame. Keyboard trays are also available to fit directly
     to the monitor suspension truck. No undertable storage is provided,
     although there is a CPU caddy which attaches to the side of the unit. Side
     tables, pencil boxes, and print holders are also available.

     Frame prices run from $160 (for a wall mount unit) to $300 for a
     freestanding unit. Shelves run $250; monitor suspension from $200 to $425,
     and legs from $78 to $800. Keyboard trays can run as high as $300, and CPU
     holders from $100 to $250.

     Known supplier: Ergotron
          3450 Yankee Drive, Ste. 100
          Eagan, MN 55121

Hon computer furniture (66000 series)
     This is essentially a set of tables which match one another. Under table
     storage is limited to a center pencil drawer or a center keyboard drawer,
     either of which can be mounted to the task desk (which has no keyboard
     shelf). Cable management is provided. The keyboard shelf is a cutout/
     dropdown; it's not clear if it is adjustable. My guess is not.

     The following table types are available
        o Table with center keyboard shelf (30 deep by 36 or 48 wide)
        o Table with right or left keyboard shelf (30 deep by 60 wide)
        o Task desk (30 by 60)
        o Printer Stand (36w x 30d x 26.5h) with paper feed slot.
        o Return (42w x 20d x 26.5h) freestanding.

     Cost is from $300 for the Typing Return to $500 for the table with
     keyboard shelf.

     Known supplier: Husk office furniture and supplies
          327 W Clark
          PO Box 886
          Pasco, WA 99301

Image Setter Workstation
     This is a pretty complete modular workstation. It includes tables with and
     without keyboard cutouts, tilting tables, tilting light tables, corner
     units, keyboard trays, CPU racks, mobile files, drawers, and overhead
     storage. They also have connector parts that allow two tables to be
     connected together in a corner to form a corner workstation.

     Known supplier: Foster Manufacturing Company
          414 North 13th Street
          Philadelphia, PA 19108-1001

     There are two lines of furniture from Mayline/Hamilton:

     The Creativity Corner line is similar to the Communicore cad system. The
     table height for this system is not listed in my catalog. There is a
     corner unit with under table storage and a "reference desk" with under
     table storage. The adjustable table seems to be adjustable for height, and
     it looks as if the reference desk top can be tilted. The adjustable table
     has no under table storage. There are drawer (pencil and storage) and
     shelf (hutch) accessories for the reference table and a corner shelf (for
     the monitor - yuck) for the corner unit. Costs run from $256 for a 36w x
     30d reference desk to $512 for the tilt top adjustable table. Hutches are
     about $200, corner shelf $118, two drawer unit $215, keyboard/pencil
     drawer $91. A basic setup (Adjustable table, reference table, and corner
     unit) would run $1150; with pencil drawer, storage drawer and hutch it
     would run $1650.

     The CADCorner units from Mayline Hamilton are similar to the creativity
     corner units. All units are 29 inches high (too high!!), but they come in
     both 30 inch and 36 inch depths. No under table shelf space is provided,
     but a two drawer storage unit can be got for $336. Rather than a full
     hutch, a bookshelf is available (8h x 12d). A 20 inch wide keyboard drawer
     is available (where am I to put my mouse?), as is a two drawer storage
     unit. Prices range from $400 for a basic 36w x 30d x 29h desk to $760 for
     the 36d corner unit. A setup with the 36d corner unit, a 36w desk, a 60w
     desk, a bookshelf, a two drawer storage unit and a keyboard drawer runs
     about $2200.

     No known supplier at this time.

Tiffany Office Furniture
     This is a line of stands and carts; there is a basic workstation cart
     (mobile bi-level table) for about $450 and a more elaborate but smaller
     cart (less available workspace for $400. The smaller cart has space under
     it for a printer. The stands consist of towers on pedestals with casters;
     The monitor sits on a stand atop the tower, the keyboard on a tray clamped
     to the tower and the cpu unit on a bracket at the base.

     Tiffany also makes a line of terminal stands; these are simply small
     tables on pedestals with casters. Prices range from $200 for a simple
     table to $320 for a very adjustable table. Larger units are available too.

     The smaller cart may work for what I need if the keyboard tray will adjust
     out from the table far enough; the keyboard tray is a little too narrow
     for my keyboard and mouse together (stupid optical mice! The only thing
     worse is a mechanical mouse; think I'll get a trackball). There is no
     workspace on this thing, but I could put it right next to a table.
     Known supplier: Husk office furniture and supplies
          327 W Clark
          PO Box 886
          Pasco, WA 99301

Ultra View, Ultra View Plus, and Ergo Pro workstations
     In overall appearance, these units are similar to many "particle board
     covered with vinyl veneer" type computer workstations. However, these have
     the computer monitor on a recessed tilted shelf, so the monitor is angled
     up toward the operator. Unfortunately, they'll only handle monitors as
     large as 14"h 24"w 21"d.

     Known suppliers:
          One Misco Plaza
          Holmdel, NJ 07733

     Global Computer Supplies
          2318 East Del Amo Blvd.
          Dept 51
          Compton, CA 90220
          800-8GLOBAL (800-845-6225)

VariTask Workcenter
     This is a fully adjustable two surface workstation. The keyboard surface
     is 24d x 48w or 30d x 48w; the monitor surface is 18d x 48w. The two
     surfaces can be tilted and elevated independently; adjustment range is
     27.5 to 42.5h for the monitor table and 26h to 41h for the keyboard
     surface. Price runs from $2915 to $4052, depending on which of the lift
     and tilt operations are manual vs. electrical and depending on table size.

     No known supplier at this time.

VertiWorks [- NEW!]
     VertiWorks is a freestanding, modular system which allows things like
     monitors and printers to sit above your desk, leaving you more room for
     your things. Their Web page has nice illustrations of how it works.
     VertiWorks Web Page

     To find a distributor, contact the Rusty Jones Company

          800-215-8859 or 817-481-6688
          190 N NW Parkway, Suite G
          Southlake, TX 76092
WorkManager System
     This is a line of tables, corner units, dividers and accessories which can
     be configured in a number of different ways - corner units, clustered
     workstations, lab workstations, etc. They have a clean, futuristic look to
     them that I like; others may not. No undertable storage is provided except
     on the printer stand; roll-under type storage units and undertable
     brackets for CPU's are available. No table heights are given in my
     descriptions. There are corner units with keyboard shelves (where am I
     supposed to put my mouse?), tables 34, 48, and 60 inches wide, a tilt top
     table, printer stand, and laser printer stand with supplies storage.
     Prices run about $300 to $350 per desk or corner unit; printer stand is
     $200, underdesk file cabinet is $200.
     Known supplier: MISCO
          One Misco Plaza
          Holmdel, NJ 07733


Suppliers and their products

Husk office furniture and supplies
          327 W Clark
          PO Box 886
          Pasco, WA 99301

     Carries the Bretford, Hon and Tiffany lines of furniture

          3450 Yankee Drive, Ste. 100
          Eagan, MN 55121

     Ergotron is a direct marketer of their own rack style computer furniture.

          One Misco Plaza
          Holmdel, NJ 07733
     Phone 800-876-4726
     FAX 908-264-5955

     MISCO carries a wide variety of computer supplies as well as printer
     stands, mobile workstations, secure workstations, ergonomic workstations,
     chairs, modular workstations and the Work Manager system from
     MicroComputer Accessories. Among the chairs the MISCO has are a nice
     looking adjustable "posture chair." I always called this type of chair a
     "back chair." It has no back, and supports the user at the knee and
     buttocks in a "tilted forward" position.

Global Computer Supplies
          2318 East Del Amo Blvd.
          Dept 51
          Compton, CA 90220
          800-8GLOBAL (800-845-6225)

     Global is another supplier of just about any computer related supply you
     can think of. They have the same "posture chair" that MISCO carries, as
     well as a full line of "regular" chairs and computer furniture. The
     computer furniture includes the Work Manager, Ultra View and similar
     Comfort-Ease units, SnapEase PC Workcenter, PC Perma Cart, and a host of
     other computer stands, racks and furniture. They also have some furniture
     which somewhat resembles traditional office furniture, including the
     "Classic View" desk, which has a glass work surface with the computer
     monitor located underneath and tilted up at an angle. Global also has a
     separate catalog of "Business Furniture." This includes such items as
     button tufted wing back leather chairs and couches for your waiting area;
     executive tilt/swivel chairs; wood desks, bookshelves and other furniture;
     file cabinets (including fire resistant); carts; mail room organizers and
     so on.

Forminco International
          4115 Sherbrooke St. W, Ste. 101
          Montreal, Quebec, Canada
          H3Z 1K9
     Possible Alternate Address
          9610A, Ignace
          Brossard, Bquebec, Canada
          J4Y 2R3
     Possible Alternate Phone
          800-663-6764 or 514-444-9488

     Forminco makes computer furniture that many people have mentioned to me.
     Unfortunately, I've not seen any of the furniture or even a catalog, so
     I'm unable to comment on its appearance or potential usefulness.

     Another more information supplied by (David McKee):
          They are a Canadian company based in Quebec....

          I ended up buying their simplest work station at $199 (Canadian). As
          you probably know, this is peanuts in the computer accessory world. I
          have been very happy with the price/value of this product.

          It has a built in power bar, a place to coil up electrical cords, two
          adjustable pad areas and a keyboard rest that has two points of
          adjustment. I had it shipped directly to me, so I had to assemble it
          myself. I was impressed with the solid quality of the materials.

          They have a range of desks that go up to a quite large corner set.
          They also have cabinet accessories, a chair, and a mousepad platform.

Foster Manufacturing Company
          414 North 13th Street
          Philedelphia, PA 19108-1001

     Foster concentrates on the Engineering Market, with files for engineering
     drawings and medical records, layout light tables, drafting chairs, and
     paper cutters. They also carry the Image Setter modular workstation.


     I don't know if WorkRite makes furniture or not. However they do make
     another interesting item that many of us should have. In my experience,
     most of the modular furniture makes no provision for having a mouse in
     addition to the keyboard. WorkRite makes replacement keyboard trays that
     are much wider than the usual 24 inches or so, allowing the mouse to sit
     on the same tray as the keyboard. Novel idea! ;-)
Dan Wallach                  Princeton University, Computer Science Department  PGP Ready

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Last Update March 27 2014 @ 02:12 PM