Phoenician ivory bed dates from the 8th Century B.C. discovered at Salamis.
Prime Minister gets an all foam bed delivered to 10 Downing October 1964.
Soldiers reclining on an air-bed as depicted by a 15th Century woodcut. There is a huge bellows on the corner used to pump up the leather stitched sleep surface. The concept of sleeping on air has been around for centuries!
Super Hand-made sponge and air products from K & W Rubber Corporation 1933.
This ad appeared in an issue of Collier's in 1909 featureding a HIrschman mattress lineup. Notice names like "Queen" and "King", along with descriptive terms like "hand tied" springs, "border with Imperial edge", "French edge" and more. Hirschman, founded in 1878, offered the consumer a 60 night free trial!
Secretary of Agriculture Henry Wallace "closes" a cotton mattress while attending the Washington, D.C. "Cotton Manufacturing" Exhibition, May 1, 1940.
Fogg supplied American cabinter makers, upholsterers, and mattress speciality makers through a catalog service. Here, Fogg experiences a problem many companies have: late payments by customers.
Boyington was a large supplier to the 19th American furniture trade, having a U.S. patent for an early spiral spring used in a bed base.
Edwin Bushnell's concept is often cited as the original innerspring mattress. This patent was just one step in the many improvements that came along in box spring beds, bed bottoms, and mattresses. Though it resembles a modern "open coil" mattress, it was not that developed at that time. Read the full patent in the section on BOX SPRING BEDS.
William McArthur's 1870 patent for a bed bottom illustrates a combination of ideas that would branch off into various bedding products. This patent uses coil springs attached to the head-foot directional wooden cross slats. These springs are a support system for side to side wooden slats suspended by helical springs. They upper part of this bed is a sort of prototype for the WOVEN WIRE MATTRESSES. Check out the BED BOTTOM and WOVEN WIRE MATTRESS sections.
American marketing methods for newfangled invetions like "Flinn's Self Adjusting Steel Wire Bed Spring" was effective by postal mailers. A one-cent investment in a postage stamp quickly spread the news.
The Great Bed Of Ware was referred to by William Shakespeare in The Twelfth NIght. This bed was built in 1590 by Jonas Fosbrooke and measured 10 feet by 11 feet!
One of the oldest furniture receipts in the early American furniture market.
This unique collection of historic images is provided as an educational tool for anyone desiring to understand the past and utilize it as a creative springboard to the future. Many ideas are introduced far ahead of their time of adoption by consumers. A skilled professional would want to be aware of all ideas at their disposal.
Explore the collection of images that include:
SLEEPHISTORY.ORG is a free resource provding historic images taken from documents, catalogs and sources of ephemera in the hopes that these ideas and concepts might be the catalyst for innovators and thinkers to develop better sleep products for modern civilzation.
Sleep, the bedroom, beds, mattresses, and all the furnishings for slumber have been fundamental aspects of human society through antiquity. We use sleep technology every night; sleep is a part of our world- and sometime we take things for granted. The ancient people believed sleep and dreams were important, mystical journeys the person was exposed to every night. Maybe we can regain this aspect and enhance the importance of restorative quality sleep.
Writings of Georgie Washington Vol. I 1745-1756 Tuesday 15th March 1748 "Worked hard till Night and then return'd to Penningtons we got our Supper and was lighten into a Roon and I not being so good a Woodsman as the rest of my Company stripped myself very orderly and went into the Bed as they called it when to my Surprize I found iy to be nothing but a Little Straw-Matted together without sheets or any thing else but only one thread bare blanket with double its Weight of Vermin such as Lice Fleas etc. I was glad to get up (as soon as the Light was carried from us) I put on my Cloths and Lay as my Companions. Had we not been very tired I am sure we should not have slep'd much that night I made a Promise not to sleep so from that time forward choosing rather to sleep in the open Air before a fire as will appear hereafter." -George Washington
There will be coming sections on the ancient concepts of sleep and the imprtance of beds.
This Website will help you understand the history and etymology of commonplace words we use regarding sleep and our bedroom furnishings.
Hopefully, your visit will create a spark and this sleepy topic may become of greater importance as you consider your own bed, or the one you are considering to invent, to make, to sell, or to purchase and use. A well rested world will make better decisions.
The image archive is updated with new content as it is acquired and studied.
The Roman philosppher Seneca omce wrote, "Nothing quite new is perfect." Sleep products are still being perfected after thousands of years of improvements, yet, many, many ideas cycle around until they are perfected.
Some ideas are clearly ahead of their times. Other concepts have been lost, but are worthy of reconsidering!