The History of the Mattress

History of the Mattress

From Caves to Castles: The Evolution of the Mattress

Mattresses have been around for a long time…a very long time. In fact, the oldest known mattress, recently discovered in South Africa, is believed to be a whopping 77,000 years old! Now, we’re not talking a pile of rusty innersprings and the tattered remnants of a plush cotton cover. This prehistoric mattress was basically a large pile of leaves where the whole family unit slept. Today, its remains more closely resemble dried mud. Still, a mattress is a mattress; it sure beats sleeping on the cold hard ground.

So how did we get from piles of leaves to the fancy mattress models we know today? Let’s take a closer look into the evolution of the mattress throughout history:

Mattress Timeline

10,000 years ago: Like the 77,000 year old South African mattress, mattresses in this time period were made of rudimentary items such as leaves and grass and often covered with animal skins.

3,600(ish) years ago: The Persians invent the first version of the waterbed: goatskins filled with water.

Renaissance Era: Stuffing pea shucks and other natural materials in sacks of simple ticking. Wealthy covered them in rich fabrics, such as velvet.

1832: Dr. Neil Arnott develops the modern-day waterbed as an answer to the pressure ulcers (aka bed sores) often developed by hospitalized and bedridden patients.

1865: The first coil system is developed for mattress use. Innerspring mattresses are the most common type of sleep surface in the United States today.

1899: James Marshall invents the individually pocketed coil spring, known as the Marshall Coil.

1929: Dunlopillow (inventor of the Dunlop process for manufacturing latex) sells latex mattresses, the most expensive mattress model on the market at this time.

1940’s: Western introduction of Futon beds, which have been popular in Japan. They become popular in the U.S.

1960: Thanks to the invention of vinyl, the water bed increases in popularity in the U.S.

1972: Bedrooms & More opens for business! In the beginning, our store exclusively sold waterbeds. As they began to go out of style, we transitioned into selling other types of mattresses, bedding, and furniture. That said, we DO still sell waterbeds!

2000: Simmons re-introduces the one-sided mattress. This style is now, unfortunately, the industry standard for mattress production. If you’re familiar with our company and its mission, you know that we only sell two-sided, flippable mattresses. Why? Because they last longer! But let’s not get off track. If you want to learn more about the benefits of the two-sided mattress, click here.

2009: Bedrooms & More trademarks Botanicore, the process for making our natural botanical latex; a variation of the Dunlop Process.

2015: Direct to consumer Bed-in-Box trend gains traction. Disenchanted consumers, revolt in frustration over one-sided mattresses failing too quickly. Unfortunately, the bed-in-a-box mattresses fail even faster.

2018: Bedrooms & More expands. Customers demanding the value of two-sided flippable mattresses have made it possible for us to expand.

Pretty interesting stuff, right? The mattress has undergone some major changes in the past several thousand years. Where has this innovation lead?

Today’s Mattress

Mattresses in today’s market come in several different varieties, which can be really confusing for consumers. You can get memory foam, gel foam, latex, innerspring, a futon, an air mattress, a waterbed; the list goes on and on.

Here at Bedrooms & More, there are certain materials, such as memory foam and gel foam, that we refuse to carry. These materials are made of harmful chemicals and don’t hold up over time. There’s another thing we don’t do: we don’t sell one-sided mattresses. They don’t last either. Our mattresses are two-sided and flippable. Guaranteed to last longer than ‘can’t flip’ or bed-in-a-box products.

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