Electric height-adjustable desks have become one of the hottest topics in the global furniture
industry. The concept of "health + office" products, along with the enormous market potential for
both office and home office applications, has added significant appeal to this emerging category
of furniture. Furniture manufacturers, designers, and professional office media are all trying to
uncover the untold stories behind these products and technologies. Here, we will share with you
an untold story that has never been disclosed before—the pioneering team in the Danish office
industry, the "firsts" in developing the world's first modern column-based height-adjustable desk
system.Electric height-adjustable desks have become one of the hottest topics in the global
furniture industry. The concept of "health + office" products, along with the enormous market
potential for both office and home office applications, has added significant appeal to this emerging
category of furniture. Furniture manufacturers, designers, and professional office media are all
trying to uncover the untold stories behind these products and technologies. Here, we will share
with you an untold story that has never been disclosed before—the pioneering team in the Danish
office industry, the "firsts" in developing the world's first modern column-based height-adjustable
The Original Prototype: The Predecessor of Modern Electric
In the early 1990s, before LINAK, a Danish company, introduced the now commonly seen column-
based legs for height-adjustable desks, there were already a few adjustable desks available in the
market. These desks primarily utilized pneumatic mechanisms for height adjustment, which not
only lacked aesthetic appeal but also came with a hefty price tag.
In 1991, LINAK, a company that had been specializing in transmission and height-adjustment
systems since the 1970s, collaborated with a German furniture manufacturer to create a dual-
surface desk with independent height adjustment capabilities. By utilizing LINAK's existing electric
pushrod and control system, they successfully achieved synchronized electric height adjustment
for this desk. This breakthrough in technology was considered significant at the time.
Despite the electric height-adjustment technology offering more power and a more comfortable
user experience compared to traditional pneumatic mechanisms, it also comes with clear drawbacks.
The traditional electric pushrod has limited stroke length. The parallelogram design causes the
desk to move horizontally during adjustment. It also has specific placement requirements, such as
avoiding proximity to walls or other desks to prevent horizontal collisions. The complex appearance
gives the desk a more machine-like look.
1998 • The First Modern Column-Based Height-Adjustable
Desk System: Born in Denmark with LINAK
John Frost, Vice President of LINAK Group, recalls the story behind creating the first dedicated office
desk height-adjustment system, saying, "Through communication and research with our customers,
we discovered that what users needed was a desk that could vertically and smoothly adjust while
having a more simplified and aesthetically pleasing design."
"We assigned this task to three mechanical engineers and three electrical engineers at LINAK. The
true innovation of this new system lies in the relationship between the motor, spindle, and guiding
system, which allows for near-perfect control of friction tolerances throughout the entire leg adjustment
process. While design aesthetics are important, the technology inside the lifting column is the core
and key," emphasized John.
And so, this special project team embarked on their innovative journey.
The Paradigm Shift from 0 to 1: Establishing the Technological
Foundation of Modern Height-Adjustable Desk Systems
Innovation from 0 to 1 is never an easy task. This special project team went through countless
discussions, research, prototyping, and testing. Finally, in 1998, within the R&D department of
LINAK's headquarters in Denmark, the world's first complete modern column-based electric
height-adjustable desk system was born.
This system included controllers, control boxes, and the world's first vertically adjustable desk
legs—the DL1. The introduction of vertically adjustable desk legs and the complete system
undoubtedly marked one of the most transformative and iconic events in the history of height-
Subsequently, to better serve users in the furniture industry who had a demand for height-
adjustment systems, LINAK officially established a new specialized division in 1998 called
DESKLINE. A series of specialized product introductions and promotional materials specifically
tailored for the field of height-adjustable furniture were created and disseminated to a broader
Furthermore, in order to make more users aware of and familiar with this new type of office desk
height-adjustment technology and products, LINAK from Denmark organized a special European
touring exhibition. Staff members loaded a LINAK truck with innovative height-adjustable desks
assembled using the DL1 system, along with other adjustable furniture, and traveled to various
locations across Europe. They conducted unique and interactive height-adjustment experience
exhibitions for local users.
Ushering in a New Era of Office Height-Adjustment:
Unprecedented Success of DL1
What the LINAK team never anticipated was that their creation, the DL1, a sleeker and more
practical system introduced in 1998, would revolutionize the world of office height-adjustable
Prior to the launch of the DL1 system, there were limited options for electrically adjustable
office desks in the market, and they came with a hefty price tag (around $5,000 per desk
at the time).
However, with the introduction of the LINAK DL1, numerous European office desk manufacturers
began unveiling height-adjustable desks utilizing the DL1 system. These desks not only boasted
an appealing and functional design but also met ergonomic standards more effectively. What's
more, manufacturers were able to produce these desks at lower costs, allowing for more affordable
options. One Danish manufacturer achieved unprecedented success by reducing the price by 60%.
This breakthrough enabled more people to access aesthetically pleasing, practical, and
ergonomically designed height-adjustable desks, marking the beginning of a new era in the
Subsequently, LINAK's new electric height-adjustment system found widespread adoption by
furniture manufacturers around the world in various fields, including offices, industrial workstations,
kitchens, outdoor furniture, and more. The demand for these systems grew rapidly.
In this way, while LINAK was tirelessly seeking better solutions for users, they unknowingly sparked
a global furniture trend.