A History of Mattresses, and a Glimpse into the Future!

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Do you have a mattress so comfortable that you can’t wait to crawl into it at night? One that’s a great size and perfect firmness? Even if you’re mattress isn’t perfect, it is still a big improvement on mattresses from days gone by. Let’s face it, pretty much anything is better than some twigs and animal hide on the floor of a cave. Right?

Since we are so passionate about mattresses at M&N Mattress, We thought it would be fun to take a trip through time and look at the history of this wonderful invention that welcomes us into the dream world each and every night.

10,200 B.C.E: Raised beds are first used. Probably made of piles of leaves and grass, covered with animal skins.

3600 B.C.E.: The precursor to the 1980s era water bed! Goat skins are filled with water and used as beds in Persia.

200 B.C.E.: In Rome, cloth bags are stuffed with hay or wool. Unless you’re rich, then you get a much softer feather stuffed bag.

1400s: Mattresses are stuffed with pea and corn shucks and husks, feathers for the wealthy. Then they were covered with a softer material like velvet or silk.

1700s: Cotton and wool is used for stuffing.

Mid 1700s: Major leaps in mattress construction and design during this era. Mattress frames are first constructed. Linen and cotton are more widely available and used for mattress covers. Cotton, wool, and horsehair are used for stuffing. Mattresses are tufted and edges are stitched to help maintain the shape.

1857: The dawn of the steel coil spring era, though not used in mattresses yet (only chairs).

1865: The patent for coil spring beds are submitted.

1871: The innerspring mattress is invented by a German named Heinrich Westphal. However, he dies in poverty.

1873: Another wave of waterbeds hits the world. This time they are used in hospitals to help relieve patients suffering with ulcers.

Late 1800s: A big turning point for mattresses – the invention of the box spring!

1929: Latex rubber mattresses hit the market. They are ultra expensive and are produced by Dunlopillow.

1930s: The common folk are able to purchase innerspring mattresses, synthetic fillers become widely available. Pocket spring mattresses are also introduced.
1940s: The world welcomes the invention of the futon!

1950s: Foam rubber mattresses are more widely available.

Mid 1950s: Queen and king sized mattresses start to make up a larger part of the market share.

1960s: It’s back! Waterbeds make a groovy return, bolstered with the invention of durable vinyl.

1980s: What else can you fill vinyl beds with? Air! Air mattresses hit the market.

1999: The bigger the better-queen sized mattresses overtake twin in popularity.

2000’s: The modern era, where sleep science and consumer demands of comfort meet. Memory foam makes a big impact, pillow tops mattresses, and convenience (like single-sided no-flip) increase in popularity.

2018: Eco-friendly options are in high demand, with hypoallergenic, chemical- and cruelty-free, as well as easy-to-clean options.

The Future: Tech companies are hard at work designing the future of mattresses with smart technology built in. The possibilities are endless. If you’re snoring, the mattress will raise your head. If you get hot, the mattress will lower its temperature. When you wake up, your mattress will signal to your coffee machine to start brewing (seriously!).

As you can see, we’ve come a long way in the world of mattresses. And we can’t wait to see where we go next!