The Evolution of Mattresses In History

Mattresses are the key to good night’s sleep. Many of our predecessors slept on the ground or floors for much of history. However, using some ingenuity, people decided that raising a bed from the floor and designating a dedicated surface to rest upon would provide a more satisfying (and clean) nights rest. As technology changed and time progressed, the materials utilized to develop them has changed drastically. Here’s a look at mattresses throughout history.

Goatskins, 10,000 – 3,600 B.C. – Well, at least the skin couldn’t kick. As you can see, this method of mattress making lasted for thousands of years.

Palm Branches, 3,400 B.C. – Not particularly soft, but at least it didn’t smell like a goat. If it busted, the conversion process to hand-held fans was rather simple.

Stuffed Cloths of Plant, Wool or Hay, 200 B.C. – This marks the first inclusion of animal products to create a comfortable sleep surface.

Fabric Stuffed with Pea Shucks or Straw, 1400s A.D. – This explains where the fairy tale about the princess and the pea came from. Considering the princess’ discomfort, maybe the Dark Ages were also related somehow?

Down Stuffing, 1500 – 1600s – Fossilized feathers indicate that even dinosaurs had down-like feathers. Apparently the dinosaurs were not as generous in sharing as animals in the sixteenth century.

Cotton Stuffing, 1700s – Things are finally getting better in the mattress world. American colonists needed this when their caffeine supply diminished in Boston Harbor.

Box Spring, 1800s – Finally, a secure base to prevent mattress explosions. With the added height of the bed, closer to the bedroom window frames, it might be safe to assume that getting up with the sunrise became a bit easier.

Artificial Fillers, 1920s – The industrial revolution brought improvement to all aspects of modern living. Less odor and fewer plants utilized within the mattress.

Coil Springs, 1930s – Bounce, bounce, bounce. Hyper children everywhere worked out their calf muscles, bouncing on bed tops when confined to the indoors.

Air Mattresses, 1940s – Technology finally reached the point where we could utilize the most abundant resource available on earth – air.

Waterbeds and the California King, 1960s – Beds were beginning to become more customizable, and larger too.

Memory Foam, 1992 – Now a ubiquitous option, this advancement changed the game in the industry.

No-Flip Mattress, 2000 – Seems like a no-brainer now. Keep the mattress in place.

Today, there are seemingly limitless options for mattresses, including beds that can customized softness, firmness, and positioning with the click of a remote. Technology has inundated every facet of our lives and mattresses are no different. While people continue to have issues with insomnia, one can only imagine their troubles if forced to sleep on a bed made of goatskin or palm branches.

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