Everything has a story, even mattresses. That might sound like a snooze-fest… how could the story of a mattress—where it comes from and how it’s made— possibly be a very fascinating tale? Well, when it comes to Talalay latex, it’s actually a remarkable story, so let us tell about the journey of this impressive product.
The journey of Talalay latex starts with a simple seed. (Yes, it is strange to think that the mattress you sleep on starts by planting seeds, but there you have it.) As the humble seed becomes a sapling and then eventually sturdy rubber tree, Hevea Brasiliensis, the complex inner system of the tree begins to produce sap-type product that we humans take and turn into rubber.
The industry is largely centred in Sri Lanka, where the climate optimally supports the growth of rubber trees. The tree is about 10 years old before it starts producing rubber, which flows in the bark of the trees in spiral tubes that wrap around the trunk. To harvest it, layers of bark are carefully stripped away to expose the latex vessels.
Only one side of the tree is harvested at a time and every six years or so, the harvesters switch sides so the tree can heal and produce for longer, around 24 years in total. After that, the tree stops producing much latex and they are then cut down and used to make furniture and other products. New trees are planted and the cycle continues.
In addition to the rubber tree, the other key characters in the story of Talalay latex are three brothers: Leon, Joseph and Anselm Talalay. In the 1940s, they were the first to commercially manufacture Talalay rubber after years of developing the process that turns rubber into latex.
Here’s how Latex is harvested and processed
The naturally occurring liquid rubber is collected then whipped into a foam before it is poured in a mold. Once the rubber has settled, a vacuum process takes place to remove any remaining oxygen in the form of air bubbles and to make sure the rubber is evenly distributed. Carbon dioxide is introduced into the substance and the rubber is cured with heat.
Next, the rubber is flash frozen and then cooked or “vulcanized” so that the consistency of the product stabilizes. Finally, the mattresses are washed, dried and then tested for quality control. Each and every mattress is put through rigorous tests to ensure the highest quality is achieved.
Talalay latex mattresses, available as Natural, All Natural and Blended latex, are then distributed around the world to clients who are in search of a high quality mattress. Some people who buy a Talalay latex mattress have done their research and know that they want something that is durable, hypo-allergenic and made from naturally occurring materials. Others are simply after something that is right for their bodies and that will give them a good night’s sleep.
Whether they stumble upon a Talalay latex mattress or seek it out, customers are often surprised to learn that the interesting history of the material. From a humble seed to a high quality mattress, the journey of Talalay is a fascinating one.