The 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: Pea shucks and other natural materials are stuffed in sacks of simple ticking, and covered 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 use in mattresses. 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: Futon beds, popular in Japan, are introduced and 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 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 patents Botanicore, the process for making our natural botanical latex; a variation of the Dunlop Process.


Pretty interesting stuff, right? The mattress has undergone some major changes in the past several thousand years. So where has all of this innovation gotten us?

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. Every mattress in our store is two-sided, flippable, and guaranteed to last longer than its ‘can’t flip’ counterparts.

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