The UniDesk

Simple & Convenient

The UniDesk™
US Patent Reg. No. 3,826,031, July 27, 2010
Back to the UniDesk™

A UniDesk™ will enable a reader to position the height and angle of the desktop to hold books, magazines, newspapers, iPads, Kendals, and laptop computers in the most comfortable position.


I invented a wooden model of the UniDesk™ when I was an undergraduate student pledging a fraternity at Texas Tech in 1960, back in the days when fraternities still had serious hazing and pledges had very little time to sleep.


As you can see from the picture on this webpage, you can read upside-down lying flat on your back with a UniDesk™ by adjusting the desk’s legs to extend the desktop over whatever it is you want to lie on, a bed or sofa, after strapping a heavy book to the desktop with belts and running a rubber band around the outside margins of the pages of the strapped-in book. After adjusting the desktop to the right height and angle, all you have to do is lie down, position yourself under the book, and read. Unfortunately, you still have to reach up with your arms and hands to take the page on the right side of the book from under the rubber band and turn it over to position it under the rubber band on the left side of the book after you finish two pages of reading, to keep on reading.


To see more graphically how the UniDesk™ works, read my case “Tesk: The Upside-Down Desk” in Business Voyages.


Getting about four hours of sleep per day pledging, I affixed the desk (what I called a Tesk in those days) over my dorm room bed, and most nights I would set my alarm clock for two or so hours later after going to bed. I would then read until I fell asleep. When the alarm woke me up, I would immediately reset the alarm for two or so hours later and read until I fell asleep again. After the alarm woke me up the second time, I would then immediately set the alarm again for thirty or so minutes later, hopefully leaving me enough time to make attend an eight o’clock class after the alarm woke me up again, if I went to sleep again.

I made my grades the first time as a pledge, whereas about half my pledge class did not, which was not a trivial thing in those days since you had to go through another whole semester of pledging or drop out if you did not have passing grades the first time around. One determined brother went through pledgeship three times before he finally became an active member.


I saw the need for something to hold up heavy books the summer between my sophomore and junior years in high school, during which time I lay in bed in a body cast three months recuperating from a spinal fusion operation. Unfortunately, I had not had this upside-down desk reading idea before the summer in the body cast happened in 1955.


You can strap a laptop computer to a UniDesk™ today and read and type upside-down lying flat of your back.


To read in a serious way, you have to structure your time in such a way as to set aside time to read for some length of time per sitting or lying, certainly for more than a few seconds or minutes at a stretch.


I am convinced most people would read more frequently and longer per reading if they did not have to hold, support, and position reading materials, especially heavy books, with their hands and arms, as if watching TV.


Unfortunately there are no desks offered for sale in the US today that will perform all the functions of a UniDesk. Manufacturers of desks and furniture in the US have told me there is no way they can mass-produce UniDesks™ with USian labor costs and compete with knock-offs produced in low wage countries, and US patent and trademark laws cannot keep such products out of the US.


I have had five UniDesks™ made of oak wood by Harold Warstler, a master woodworker, and craftsman, who lives near Franklin, North Carolina, for about $350 each. Debbye and I use three of them in our Stapleton Learning Company offices, one in our home near Statesboro.


You can find several woodworkers in the US with a Google search who can craft you a custom UniDesk™. If interested in this option let me know and I will send you a copy of the original patent drawings showing in detail how a UniDesk™ works, which any good woodworker can follow to constuct a custom-made Uni-Desk™.


Happy reading and learning.