New developments: classroom furniture

Classroom Furniture - Classroom furniture has come a long way since pupils shuffled uncomfortably on plain pine benches and balanced slates on their knees.

These days, Classroom Furniture is a multi-billion dollar industry driven by expert designers who use the latest ergonomic research to provide what is, not only comfortable and safe, but also conducive to learning.

But Classroom Furniture comes in for so much wear and tear that hard-pressed school boards must keep a careful eye on durability and cost as well as comfort. When next you borrow a few chairs from neighbours for a back yard barbecue, think of the colleges and universities who must provide for 20,000 or more students.

And Classroom Furniture means much more than mere seating these days. Specially designed desks, chairs and consoles must be supplied for computer science rooms and ever more sophisticated science laboratories.

Thousands of manufacturers are part of a huge industry supplying thousands of school districts, most of which have fragile budgets. Most school boards go out to tender when Classroom Furniture needs to be bought and the industry is so competitive that discounts of fifty percent are commonly offered.

Many wholesalers hedge their bets by offering not only Classroom Furniture but also similarly designed items for industry and commerce. But there is not much call outside elementary schools for miniature chairs, desks and filing cabinets for toddlers and pre-teens; so many manufacturers do specialise.

One massive supplier explained: "in the old days, Classroom Furniture was the bailiwick of a local lumberyard that would nail a plank to a couple of posts for children to plonk their bottoms on. Now we must think of everything from designing for posture and to avoid RMI to easy stacking for the sake of space, fireproofing, and even using materials that are sure not to provoke an allergic reaction."

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