The Evolution of Chair Armrests

In the Beginning

Early office chairs evolved into steno/secretarial chairs that had a seat and backrest, and manager/executive chairs which offered armrests. These early armrests were as much a status symbol as they were functional.

Functionally, armrests started as a means to assist you sitting down and standing up, and as  place to rest your arms and hands. This was really all they had to do since there was no need to support the hands for working for hours on end with a keyboard and mouse.

Continuing Controversy

ergonomics in computerized offices

Office chair ergonomics splits along two lines of thought first describe in modern ergonomics literature by A C Mandel and Etienne Grandjean. Mandel recommended people sit on forward sloping seats that included a knee pad to keep you from sliding off. In his view of the world, the opened up the angle between the spine and the leg. Grandjean however considered the posture relative to working with a keyboard and mouse and recommended a slightly reclined posture where the backrest partially supported the weight of the upper body.

As can be seen, these two postures are bookends for a certain model of a work posture for computer users seen in the middle. All of these postures can be used without benefit of an armrest to support the position of the hands, but for intensive use of keyboard and mouse, armrests are very useful for supporting the weight of the arms so they are not constantly pulling down on the shoulders and pressing down on the spine.

SwingChair Ergonomic Office Chair              sitting posture

An Exceptional Answer

SwingChair is the only chair in the world to offer armrests which support any posture you find productive and comfortable. In addition, SwingChair’s unique ErgoMotion mechanism allows you to continually adjust your posture yet it holds your hands proximate their primary target, usually a mouse and keyboard.

Your entire body from the chest down can be enjoying the gentle rocking motion of SwingChair and you remain at task. Conventional ergonomic chairs pull your hands away from the desk when you recline, requiring you to constantly adjust the armrests to keep them supported for work.

SwingChair Armrest Options

SwingChair’s standard single-pivot armrests allow you to put at least a 4” by 4” comfort surface below your forearm at exactly the right height for a safe wrist posture. The offset posts allow you to position the armrests to fit the width of the user, as seen below.


SwingChair’s optional Double-Pivot Armrests place a 4” extension bracket between the post and the armrest cushion with a 360 degree pivot at each end. This allows a truly amazing amount of movement for the armrests, enabling you to position the entire 8” long X 4” wide cushion directly under the forearm for maximum support and comfort. Whether your arms are 12” apart or 30” apart when hanging at your sides, the Double-Pivot armrests will support them.


Pioneering work done by Win Lochridge led him to develop the “Butterfly Board”. This was the world’s first desk accessory for supporting the posture recommended by Dr. Grandjean where the user could recline slightly in their chair. SmartMotion’s 4-Arm Tray is a simple device which clamps to the front of any desk and enables this very helpful reclining action:

forearm tray

Supporting the forearms is critical to preventing injury from long-term sitting. Buy SwingChair and experience the only chair in the world to support natural human motion and support your forearms.

Choose your SwingChair now and add the double-pivot armrests too.