the school bench

a couple of months ago i was at my younger brothers school to watch an end of term drum performance, and sat down on one of these. the last time i had been around them was doing p.e. at school about 5 years ago, where that was all i was focussed on. seeing them now, purely as a designed product or piece of furniture, everything suddenly became clear! this was an amazing piece of design, solving numerous problems so simply.

i had never really wondered what the four white bumps on the top were for. i just knew they were annoying to sit on when in the gym. asked point blank i might have said they were covers for screws or bolts, so no-one would hurt themselves. looking at them now though it was obvious. they're feet! this was not only a bench, it was a balance beam when flipped over, and the four white bumps were feet to grip the gym floor beneath.

then there's the hooks on the underside of the bench. i don't know what i imagined these were for. maybe to link to eachother? but a quick glance tells you thats not even possible. now, again, it was obvious. it is to link them to the wall bars. so it is a multipurpose bench, balance beam, bridge and ramp. we used them for goals for indoor football too, as well as room dividers and things to jump over.

it took me a long time to find these benches online. i didnt know what to type in at first. 'school bench' gets you worktops and outdoor benches, 'gym benches' gets you weight benches for a gym. 'school gym benches' gets you a mixture of both. i did manage to find soemthing in the end though. the hooks have had a slight re-think, and are now made of polyproplylene.

from the manufacturer's website:

'After extensive field testing we have recently switched from traditional steel hooks with hook rubbers, to a more modern, non-marking white polypropylene hook as shown above. As well as being extremely hard wearing, this new hook has the added benefit of no requirement for replacement hook rubber.'

another thing to notice was the cost. relatively high at first look, an eleven foot bench with hooks at both ends will cost you £247. thinking about the amount of benches we had at school, and the amount of battering they got, and it was beginning to look a bit steep. but then i thought, yes, they did take a battering. every day, all year round. and they looked like they could have been 50 years old. but they were still solid! so maybe they are actually pretty good value for money!

multipurpose, tough, long lasting, and good looking. the school bench is a design classic.

link to continental sports equipment