[ Retro Scan of the Week ] The Official IBM PC Desk

July 9th, 2012 by Benj Edwards

IBM Synergetix Personal Computer PC Work Station Ad -  1983The IBM PC Workstation: Almost as small as a refrigerator.

Once upon a time, IBM made furniture.

Specifically, they created a custom folding desk for its IBM Personal Computer called the "IBM Synergetix PC Work Station," which we see in the 1983 ad above.

IBM registered the trademark "Synergetix" in 1981 to cover its line of IBM PC-related furniture, which even included an official IBM PC Table and IBM PC chair. Big Blue let the trademark expire in 1989, which shows you how successful that idea was.

I've been trying to think of modern analogies to the IBM PC Work Station, and the closest I can come up with is Apple making a special cover for its iPad — although Apple's Smart Cover has been popular and well-received. The Smart Cover also doesn't cost $850 like the IBM PC Work Station did (that's about $1,961 today).

[ From Personal Computing, November 1983, p.249 ]

Discussion Topic of the Week: Have you ever used a desk specifically designed for use with a computer?

5 Responses to “[ Retro Scan of the Week ] The Official IBM PC Desk”

  1. Cameron T. Says:

    I remember a desk that my Dad and I put together that had an angled, recessed monitor shelf. The idea was you would put the giant CRT monitor on this shelf and then rather than looking straight ahead, you could angle your head down a little. I guess it was supposed to be ergonomic or something. Or at least space-saving.

    Anyway, it was one of those "built it out of a box" things, and when the time came to get rid of it, we discovered that you could NOT move it out of the room that it was in. So it had to be chopped apart to get it to go through the door.

  2. arlandi Says:

    yes i have. it was a desk made from aluminum. my dad bought it for our Apple II compatible around 1985. that desk was then replaced with a wooden one when we bought an XT few years later. i still use it until a few years ago, around 2003, for my desktop. so the desk outlives all the desktops we ever had.

  3. Jordan Says:

    Twenty or so years ago I remember Spiegel (remember them?) sold a desk which was similar to Cameron T's desk in a way. In this case, the monitor actually rested on a shelf _below_ the desktop. In other words, the user looked through a glass-top into a monitor recessed below the desktop. I don't think this would be very comfortable. I keep my monitors at least a foot above the top of my desk.

    Weirdly, Spiegel sold XT's and AT's for the same price as a 386DX. "There's a sucker born …" as the cliche goes. An overpriced desk to go with an overpriced EGA monitor.

  4. Geoff V. Says:

    I work on CAD and CNC computers that have special desks to keep the hardware "clean" from carbon dust.

    Hey Benj, how about an article on the death of the minitel. Don't know if you used one or not, but they were all the rage when I was in France in the mid-90′s. It was the first time I bought something "online." It was like magic.

  5. DPenn Says:

    The desk I'm sitting at was purchased in 1998 at Staples. It's vaguely triangular so it fits in a corner, and, while it has shelving to the left and right, it is open at the back to fit a CRT. Sadly, my widescreen monitor can't fit back in the hole. The desk also has a broad keyboard/mouse panel that slides out on rollers.

    This is either a testament to the quality of Staples' furniture selection in the '90s or proof that I'm the cheapest man on Earth.

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