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Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Out with the old........In with the New. HON's Recently Remodeled Headquarters

Reception Area

Originating in Iowa over 60 years ago, The HON Company is one of the largest providers of practical and professional office furniture. The organization recently renovated a historic downtown Muscatine (IA) building into their corporate headquarters, demonstrating their commitment to the community and sustainable design. Working with the inherent characteristics of the 100-year-old former window sash factory, the adaptive reuse interplays history and place within a progressive workplace environment.

Exposed brick and timber combined with clean lines express a modern theme symbolizing the company's culture. A mix of open workstations and private offices, collaborative gathering space and an extensive product showroom encompassing two floors, the headquarters encourages interaction and promotes a hub of activity. The bold, simplistic design reinforces the company's brand as a forward-thinking leader for their clients and staff.

Focused on heightening the customer experience and displaying product, the new offices parallel the casual hospitality that defines HON. The design solution demonstrates the effectiveness of good planning, architecture and use of the furniture manufacturer's product, and creates a fun and highly functional workplace. To exemplify the company's "smart now, smarter later" approach, workstations are organized in a universal concept, allowing adaptability to change with minimal disruption to productivity.

Conference Room


Break room

 *All items shown in the photographs are available from Norman Orr Office Supply.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Inspirational Office Designs - Frank Lloyd Wright

Office of Edgar J. Kaufmann, Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright (1937)

The colors of the wood and the minimalist lighting make this office beam with comfort and warmth. Frank Lloyd Wright designed this beautiful office for Edgar J. Kaufmann, of Kaufmann's department store fame, in 1937. Wright had just finished work for Kaufmann's "Fallingwater", one of the most famous houses in America. Wright designed everything for this office, from the desk and chairs, all the way down to the detail in the carpet, and the cedar plywood relief on the wall.

Unfortunately, the office was dismantled in the late 50's and was given to the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.  The office was reconstructed in its entirety and has been on display since 1993.

Kaufmann Residence, "Fallingwater" (1935)

Excerpts taken from "The Architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright-A Complete Catalog"  by William Allin Storrer

Monday, July 19, 2010

The Great Debate: Ink Jet vs. Laser Printers

Almost everyday somebody will ask the question:  "Which is better, an ink jet printer, or a laser printer?"  My honest answer is:  "Depends."  There is not an easy answer for this question, because it really does depend on what you want your printer to do.  There are many pros and cons for both kinds of printers that will determine which printer is right for you.

Ink Jet Printers

Inkjet technology has been around since the mid seventies, but did not become popular until Hewlett Packard developed the DeskJet series of printers.  These printers were marketed to the home user market, but was very cost prohibitive (around $1000).  The Inkjet printer lays the ink directly on the page via a print head.  Some of the early challenges included the control of this process.  The improvement of ink cartridges vastly improved the usability of the InkJet printer.
     Pros:  If you need a printer for limited home or business use, or if you like to print high quality photographs on glossy paper, then this is the printer for you.  The cartridges are readily available, and are easy to replace in the machine.  The printers themselves come with a small price tag, which is attractive to the casual user.  Most new models come with various media slots for memory cards, and some have a color display so that you can preview your photographs before you print them.

     Cons:  If you want to have a high production machine at a reasonable price, then this is not the printer for you.  While the printer is generally cheap, the replacement ink is not.  Most ink cartridges have a very low yield making your cost per page very high. (Some color photo's could cost $1.00 or more).  As my father says "its a good thing cars don't run on this stuff!"  Unless you take very good care of the machine, the quality of the prints can degrade significantly.

Laser Printers

The laser printer was invented at Xerox in 1969 by Gary Starkweather.  The first mass produced laser printer was the IBM model 3800 in 1975.  This technology works similar to an office copier.  The powdered toner is placed on an imaging drum which in turn is placed on the paper.  The document then goes through the fuser and the powdered toner is melted to the page.

     Pros:  Creates high quality black and white images at a low cost.  While laser printers are more expensive to purchase than a inkjet printer, the cost per page is significantly lower.  The toner is easy to replace and usually lasts quite a long time.  Laser printers are generally faster than inkjet printers, and have larger paper trays.  Laser printers are also much more durable.  If you have a networked office and will have several people printing to the same machine, a laser printer will work beautifully.

     Cons:  Color laser printers create great color documents, but photos are not quite as crisp as an inkjet photo.  Laser printers tend to be larger than an inkjet printer.  There are not as many options when it comes to specialty papers.


Both types of printers are great if they are used properly.  Remember this rule for InkJet machines:  If it seems like a great deal, then the ink is probably very expensive.  You shouldn't skimp on a machine that you will use to represent your business.  Contact me anytime at reidgrigsby@townsqr.com if you would like to discuss the best solution for your needs.  You can also compare and contrast printers at our web store.  Guests can log in to the Web Store (User name: Guest, Password: norman)

Friday, July 16, 2010

A Brief History of the Fountain Pen

The first "practical" fountain pen was patented in 1884 by Lewis Waterman. The oldest known fountain pen was designed by M. Bion in 1702. The fountain pen's design evolved from quill pen. The hollow channel of a birds feather, which was a natural reservoir for the storage of ink, was the inspiration for the man-made designs. The man-made version holds much more ink, and did not necessitate the constant dipping into a bottle of ink.

Early fountain pens had a bad habit of leaking all over the writing surface and on the person who was using it. Lewis Waterman, an insurance salesman, was inspired to improve the fountain pen after destroying a valuable sales contract with a leaky pen. Waterman's design employed an air hole in the nib and three grooves inside the feed mechanism. These improvements helped the leaking problem significantly.

The ink cartridge was introduced around 1950. This was a disposable, pre-filled cartridge, that was a vast improvement over other filling methods. These cartridges are still very much in use today. The popularity of the ballpoint pen cut into the fountain pen market considerably. Fountain pens sell today as a classic writing instrument and the original pens have become very hot collectibles.


Welcome to Officeology: Norman Orr Office Supply's official blog. I hope to use this blog to share with you what I have learned over the past two decades in the office procucts industry. I have had some amazing experiences (mostly good, some bad) that can help us all learn to have productive, efficient, and fun worklife. If anyone has any questions, comments, or suggestions for what you like to see on this blog, feel free to contact me: reidgrigsby@townsqr.com.