Comfortable and supportive mattresses and beds have become a common household item, so common that someone, somewhere decided to name an entire room after it – the ‘bed’ room. However, we don’t often think about how we arrived here and how the bed and mattress evolved into what we glibly accept as out bedroom comforts today. So why not lie down, rest your head upon your pillow, and allow us to tell you a tale that takes you back in time to the birthing and evolution of what we know today as ‘the modern day bed’.
More than 10,000 years ago, during the Neolithic period, people began to sleep on primitive ‘beds’, which were created with common garden refuge, such as straw or grass. In 340BC common people began to sleep on palm bows in the corner of their homes, but it wasn’t long until the Egyptian Pharaohs discovered that there were significant benefits to sleeping on a raised pallet. King Tutankhamen even possessed his own elevated bed that was made from gold and ebony.
The Roman Empire and the Renaissance
The first “luxury bed” was created during the time of the Roman Empire. These beds were often decorated with gold, silver, or bronze and the mattresses were stuffed with hay, wool, reeds or feathers. Similarly, Renaissance mattresses were made from pea shucks, straw or feathers, and stuffed into coarse sticks. This was then wrapped in sumptuous velvets, silks, and brocades. In addition to this, the Romans also played a part in discovering the Water Bed, of a kind! A sleeper would lie in a cot of warm water, until they began to feel drowsy. They would then be lifted onto a nearby cradle with a mattress and rocked gently until they fell asleep – the ultimate in heavenly rest.
The 16th, 17th, 18th and 19th Centuries
Louis XIV was particularly fond of spending time in his bed. In fact he even proceeded to hold court in his Royal Bedroom. He was said to have owned 413 beds and he displayed a particular liking for beds that were ultra-spacious and ostentatious.
In the late 18th century cast iron beds and cotton mattresses were invented. Not only did this create a demarcated space for sleeping, but it was also less attractive to vermin and bugs. In 1865 the first coil spring was created and placed into the mattress, but it was only in the 1930s that the Innerspring mattresses and upholstered foundations were introduced into the market.
Modern Sleeping Equipment
Futons became fashionable to North America in the 1940s and, following this, foam rubber mattresses and pillows appeared in the 1950s. Yet this wasn’t enough. Inventors were keen to experiment with the four elements, and water beds were introduced in the 1960s, airbeds in the 1980s, and the electric blanket in 1912.
These days beds are bought according to choice, comfort, and convenience – bunk beds were even invented to save space. The market is full of variety, and when shopping around for new bedding, it is one of the few guarantees in life that a bed shop will be able to find the mattresses, beds, pillows, or sleeper couches that matches your preferences, bolsters your comfort zone and fits your space.