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Ergonomic History Lesson: Bodybilt Chairs and the O.J. Simpson Trial

by Mitch M on October 18, 2012

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Attorneys in the O.J. Simpson trial used Bodybilt Chairs, like the ones above, to stay comfortable and healthy while sitting in the courtroom for hours.

June 17, 1994. Who can forget that day? Flip to any TV channel and you were bound to see the same thing: a medium-speed chase, a flying-V formation of police cars, and people gathered on freeway bridges to shout at a white Ford Bronco. ”Don’t do it, Juice, it’ll work itself out.” In many ways, this was a prescient day in our voyeuristic, media-obsessed world.

The subsequent O.J. Simpson trial made famous the names of prosecuting and defense attorneys, judges and witnesses for both sides. It was called a circus and rightfully so. The trial lasted eleven months — of sitting patiently, of presenting evidence, of direct examination and cross-examination.  From where did they summon the endurance and emotional fortitude to brave the legal mire? The answer: from their Bodybilt Chairs.

Yes, Bodybilt Chairs were as integral a part of the O.J. Simpson Trial as Kato Kaelin. Take a look at this article we found from 1995. “The ergonomically correct executive chair, which Shapiro bought in an [sic] Los Angeles store for $1,495, is the latest addition to high-technology innovations like laptop computers, DNA testing and Sony monitors (for witnesses) that made the O.J. Simpson trial a showcase for technology.”

Yes, the article is a relic filled with hopelessly dated references and some humorously deprecated ergonomic and chair lingo — “cumulative back trauma”? The “Shapiro” Chair?  The “Secretarial” Chair? — but it is interesting to view this as perspective from the infancy of mainstream ergonomics, of ergonomic equipment as novelty more than necessity.

Nowadays, of course, Bodybilt is one of our favorite chair brands to recommend. For someone with a very specific pain issue or someone who needs a chair specifically fitted for them, they’re our go-to.  The design of their features has changed somewhat since the article was written, but the principal remains the same: one-size-fits-all chairs don’t make sense when every person is shaped differently.

So take your cue from these celebrities: Judith Krantz, Dustin Hoffman, Arsenio Hall and Bill Gates. Try one of these “NASA-inspired” space-age chairs. The future is now, ergo-homies. These chairs are dope! Laptop computers, DNA testing and Sony monitors are the norm, and yet, amazingly, the price of a brand new Bodybilt Chair is still chillin’ at the 1995-price of $1,495. And if you’re totally stoked on one of these Bodybilt Chairs, give us a call (800-531-3746) and we can send you a quote, and we may even be able to save you more cheddar.

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Written by Mitch M

Mitch M

Mitch was a neophyte to ergonomics two years ago, but he quickly graduated to “ergo expert” status. He enjoys keeping his monitor arms at eye level, his keyboard tray in his lap, and because he is tall, he tends to lean back in his chair while working. He specializes in keyboard trays and finding the solutions for his fellow tall folk. Outside of the office, he enjoys film, reading, writing and eating healthily most of the time, so he can gorge himself on enchiladas and hot wings some of the time. He attempts to live by Ralph Waldo Emerson’s advice that, “A foolish consistency is hobgoblin to little minds,” but not always, because that would also be foolishly consistent.

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