In his 1917 novel The Job Sinclair Lewis makes note of a group of ambitious young clerks who work in the offices at Pemberton – “the greatest manufactory of drugs and toilet articles in the world” – and who sat at “shiny, flat-topped desks in rows”.1
And you’re all currently thinking, yeah… and… ???
……. and… while that may be a valid response today, in 1917 ambitious young clerks sitting at rows of “shiny, flat-topped desks” were, when not a revolution, then a relative novelty, and for all were highly indicative of a period of fundamental evolution and development in understandings of the office, of office work, of office workers, of office desks. A period of fundamental evolution and development that continues to inform the 21st century office. And the 21st century office desk…….