When Was The Bed Invented?

by Dylan Bowen April 08, 2022 3 min read

When Was The Bed Invented?

When was the bed invented?

The history of beds

Ancient history of beds:

The first know “bed” was made in the Miocene period which is between 23 and 5 million years ago. In this time, the ancient apes replaced their sleeping locations from branches in the three to constructed, hardwood platforms which helped them achieve a better night’s sleep. The Mattress is around 22 square feet, which was big enough to hold a whole family and was a around a foot high.

The oldest mattress goes all the way back in history around 77,000 years ago, and was discovered in the Sibudu Cave in KwaZulu-Natal in Africa. The mattress was made from layers of stems and rushes, that was found at the bottom of a heap of compressed grass and leafy plants that they use as bedding.  A blanket of leaves that came from the river wild-quince made an insect-repellent top sheet to shield them against mosquitos and flies. It could also symbolize history’s first known use for plants for medicine as the plant made chemicals that would kill insects.

Beds From 3200 BCE to 2200 BCE:

The Neolithic-era people that lived in a village on the Orkney Island in Scotland has beds adjoining a central hearth in each house. The right side of the bed was always larger, this was because the man of the house always slept on the bigger side of the bed and the bed was made of a stone-made frame. 

Beds From 3000 BCE to 1000 BCE:

Similarly, to Scotland, the ancient Egyptians also used elevated beds that were made from wood. The beds that were for the poorer people were made of cheaper materials such as plain wood and for the higher-class people the beds were made from ebony and were coated in gold and jewels. The beds were elevated off the floor so they could be away from insects, snakes and rodents that live on the ground. To finish the bed off they would use a mattress that was made of woollen padding and for the frame of the bed stone or wood was used. 

The Persians created waterbeds around 3,600 years ago, the beds were made of goatskin and full of water. They were heated up in the sun, the actual reason for why the water bed was made is still not known, however, people like to think that they were designed for the ill and aged.

Beds From 1000 BCE:

In the 1000 BCE, the rich Romans started to sleep on elevated metal beds with feather and straw mattresses. For the slightly poorer romans, there was wooden beds with wool strings used to construct mattresses. For the extremely poor people there was no other option to sleep on a mat on the floor. However, all people no matter of social class used blankets made of wool.

Beds in Medieval Times and Beyond:

In and after the 5th century mattresses were pretty much the same without any major changes. Though bed frames did become more intricate and were constructed from wood. The Saxons used rough straw to make their mattresses whilst the Normans used iron railings to drape curtains around their bed.  

In the 14th century feather beds were created and became very popular. In the middle of the 18th century, mattresses were wrapped in linen or cotton and packed with coconut fibres, cotton wool, or horse hair.   

The four-poster bed became less common in the 19th century, with a basic head and foot board becoming smaller. The main benefit was that there were metal bed springs aiding the mattress instead of ropes or wool straps.

The modern mattress:

In the early days it is known that most mattresses were stuffed with feather etc, however, modern mattress started to use springs instead. 

Innerspring mattress:

Timothy Rose and Platt S. Buell made the original bed spring in the USA in December 1869. Their work created the foundation of the modern mattress that loads of people sleep on today. Even in the 1950s mattresses were still filled with cotton instead of springs but cotton become harder whereas springs would become softer. The springs were then replaced by memory foam.

Memory foam mattress:

In 1966, NASA invented memory foam, at that time it was known as temper foam, it was used in airplane seats. In to the 1980s, companies attempted to use the memory foam to create mattresses, with the first being created in 1991. Memory foam mattress are now extremely popular and even have become a staple over the innerspring mattress. 

Dylan Bowen
Dylan Bowen


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