by Dylan Bowen April 12, 2022 2 min read
Mattresses are a great invention! The 19th century marked the revolutionary beginning of mattress development, leading to the succession of many different mattresses as we know of today. Prior to the invention of mattresses in the 1800’s, many people used whatever soft materials they had in their homes; they used whatever was available, including straw, hay, feathers, wools and even horse hair! Most of the time, these handmade improvisations did not mean that everyone slept comfortably, as people from different socioeconomic classes couldn’t afford to use the same materials. This meant people slept differently: it depended on what you could afford, and your creativity skills!
Old mattresses are no match for the mattresses we have today, as they didn’t provide the same level of luxury and support as modern-day mattresses. So, who invented beds? Who invented mattresses?
The first bed was invented by the ancient Egyptians, 3000 B.C – 1000 B.C. They used animal inspiration to create animal shaped legs for the typical ‘four legged’ bed that we know of today. These beds were also made from wood, or if you were of a higher a class, then your bed would be made of gold sheaths, jewels, and ebony.
Beds were raised off the ground offering protection from dangerous animals such as snakes, rodents, and insects, as well as to keep the sleeper off the hot ground. These beds also consisted of wooden slats or reeds so a mattress can be topped. Lastly, the beds were also adorned with wool cushions and linen sheets for comfort and luxury.
Heinrich Westphal was technically the first inventor of the first innerspring mattress in 1971, even though the actual coil springs that are a key component of this type of mattress was already invented back in 1857. This was the first type of mattress that used coils for support, and the beginning of a much more comfortable bed than ever before at that time.
Dunlop in 1926 then invented the first type of foam mattress from vulcanized rubber sap, thus labelling it the beginning of ‘latex foam ‘and ‘innerspring latex foam’ mattresses.
In 1966, memory foam was developed by NASA by Charles Yost as he was assigned to design the cushioning for aircraft seats. This invention was later used in actual mattresses in the 21st century!
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