Modern beds come in different forms, shapes, and varieties, offering a far greater level of comfort than has ever been obtainable in the past.
Since the beginning of time, man has been known to look for various way to make life more comfortable for himself; and one of the most urgent of these includes getting a good place to sleep after a hard day’s work. The earliest humans are likely to have made use of a collection of grasses, or straw as beds, where they could safely lay down and sleep.
Conversely, the bed in modern day terms can be regarded as a complete furniture unit, which includes the mattress, where one can relax in comfort. As civilization and technology advanced, so did the desire to exploit a better and more suitable material to sleep on and get a good night’s sleep.
This has taken us from the era of having to sleep on grasses to that of having a huge choice of different types of beds such as sprung beds, divans, air beds, waterbeds, memory mattresses, etc.
The modern-day bed has gone through many transformations and taken thousands of years to become what it is today.
The Neolithic Period, also known as the New Stone Age period: The history of beds cannot be said to be complete without making adequate reference to what it occurred during this time. This era spans a period of 6,000 years between 9,000 B.C and 3,000 B.C. Men at this time were known to use straw, and grasses to make beddings for themselves. This offered them warm, and protection from dirt.
200 BC - 3000 B.C: During this period, in Persia, humans started using goatskins filled with water to sleep upon. In the same period Egyptians were using palm boughs for bedding in their homes.
15th Century – Mid 18th Century: A lot of innovations were made during this period. People at this time were beginning to show a greater sense of belonging, coupled with a zeal to make things better. The mattress was invented during this period, though it was mostly made up of feathers, and straw, and enclosed with silk, or velvets.
18th century: At the beginning of the 18th century, mattresses were further improved, with cotton wool being used instead of feathers or straw. And by the middle of that century there was a remarkable improvement in the quality of the materials used for the production of the mattress cover. The covers were then made of good cotton material, allowing for proper and efficient mattress cleaning.
Mid 18th Century – late 19th Century: New innovations that could make the beds a better sleeping place offering greater comfort were introduced. Some of these include the invention of the steel and first coil spring. Also, Mr. Heinrich, a German invented the innerspring mattress. The waterbed was also invented and recommended by Neil Arnott for the prevention and treatment of pressure ulcers.
This period brought about the introduction of the metal bedsprings that give greater rigidity and strength to the body of the bed, thus offering more support to its frame. It is said that the springs were made of heavy-gauge metal wiring formed into a mixture of shapes. The wire had the ability to be interwoven in a lattice pattern, thus providing what can be called complete total head-to-foot and side-to-side support. It could equally be shaped in what can be called a continuous S-shape, or serpentine pattern, though this method appears to be a bit more sophisticated.
Early 19th century – Mid 19th Century: Technology was gaining ground all over the world, and this impacted on the quality of the beds that were being produced. A lot of remarkable innovations took place during this period. The box spring bed was invented during this era and there was a great improvement on the quality of the mattresses produced. It reduced the tendency of the mattresses to swell. It was during this period that Kingsdown, a global leader in bed production opened its first factory.
20th Century: The innerspring mattress mostly in use today was invented during this period. The spring was integrated completely into the mattress, thus providing an additional level of support due to its rigidity, and being considerably less lumpy.
Memory foam mattresses were first introduced by Temper-Pedic Inc in 1992 in in the United States. These mattresses are viscoelastic in nature, thus providing adequate support for each sleeper regardless of their body and needs.
Beds in the 21st Century: There has never been a time when we have more options, and choices as regards the type, style, shape, size of bed we want.
A lot of interesting changes have taken place right from the early days of man to this age where technology has affected everything that we do. Comfort plays a crucial role in one’s choice of a bed to sleep on, especially in this age, where we are constantly bombarded with newer options each day.
Reflecting on these changes and how fast they have happened, especially in the last hundred years, makes one wonder what our beds might look like in the future.