Standing Desks: An American Tradition..Stand-up desks are becoming trendy in Silicon Valley and elsewhere. But they’re not really a new idea. In fact, stand-up desks used to be much more common. Earnest Hemingway preferred a stand-up desk. And though Thomas Jefferson invented a really cool swivel chair, he too often worked standing up. Even D.J. DePree, founder of Herman Miller, preferred to stand while working.