History of Mattresses

Posted by Kajal Bansal on

bed frame

Everyone loves sleep. And one of the major contributing factors to a great night’s sleep is a comfortable mattress. Mattresses have been around for so long that it would be feasible to think that there was never a time without them. But, how did the mattress come to be? Surely, someone thought that there was a better alternative to sleeping on a cold hard ground and decided to remedy that.

Well, the inventor of the mattress couldn’t be narrowed down to just one specific person, but to a specific time period instead. Over 10,000 years ago in the Neolithic period, the first “primitive” mattress was invented, they consisted of piles of leaves, grass and straw with a layer of animal skins over it.

From then, the types of mattresses varied across different civilizations. Ranging as far back as 3600 B.C.E. to 200 B.C.E, Ancient Rome, Ancient Egypt and Persia had their own variation of what they considered a mattress. Ancient Rome mattresses were bags filled with reeds, hay or wool (the wealthy used feather – a hint of what was to come). Ancient Egypt mattresses were just a pile of palm boughs in the corner of a room. Mattresses in Persia were goatskins filled with water.

Mattresses began to evolve in the 15th to 17th century (the Renaissance period) with straws and feathers being stuffed into sacks and being covered with velvet, brocades or silks. Then in the 18th century mattresses started to get covered by linen or cotton. The line or cotton would get stitched on the sides to prevent any stuffing from falling out.

From 1857-1871, the mattress gets advanced as the first coil spring mattress was invented. Soon afterwards, things got more creative and inspired by the primitive mattresses in 3600 B.C.E. Persia, waterbeds were invented (primarily as a way to treat and prevent pressure ulcers). These waterbeds were often described as life size hot water bottles.

In the 19th century, the box spring was invented which helped make the mattress less lumpy. From then on mattresses steadily developed as the last few kinks were worked out. Here is a quick summation of how the rest of the 19th century fared with mattresses.

1920s: mattresses got constructed from latex rubber.

1930s: innerspring mattresses, as well as mattresses with artificial fillers, became popular. Also pocket spring mattresses, individual springs sewn into linked fabric bags, were invented.

1940s: the futon becomes known.

1950s: foam rubber mattresses and pillows hit the market.

1960s: the more modern and upscale waterbed is invented and available for purchase. These waterbeds looked distinctly less like hot water bottles are more like the mattresses today with the use of vinyl.

1980s: air mattresses made of vinyl is introduced.

After the 19th century, mattresses were available in an array of sizes and types with various modifications further being made to improve the overall quality of mattresses. With the multitude of sleeping options available to them, consumers can be guaranteed a high degree of comfort when they sleep on their mattress.  


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