Saturday, September 25, 2010

A History of Beds

A bed is a piece of furniture on which we sleep. Although beds can serve multiple functions, such as places to relax, read or watch television from, the primary purpose remains to sleep! 

Historically, in many cultures the bed was considered the most important piece of furniture in the house. It was usually the biggest and acted as an indication of status – the bigger and better the bed, the more important a person you were! For the ancient Egyptians, the bed was the centre of the household and used not just as a place to sleep or recline but as a place to eat meals and entertain guests. 

The earliest form of bed was a shallow chest in which bedding was placed in an attempt to make it comfortable. The first attempt to build a bed purely designed to lie down on, consisted of ropes stretched across a framework of wood. In the 1600’s, a typical bed was a timber frame with rope or leather supports. A mattress was placed atop these supports, but this was not the mattress we know today. The mattress would have consisted of a bag made of plain, cheap fabric with a soft filling inside, most commonly straw or sometimes wool. 

It was during the mid 18th century that the covering of the mattress began to be made of quality linen or cotton. The mattress took on the rectangular shape we now recognise and the fillings became more natural including coconut fibre, cotton, wool or horse hair. 

The mattresses became tufted or buttoned in order to effectively contain their fillings and the edges were stitched together. It was in the late 19th century that the timber frames on beds were replaced with iron and steel. Pocket spring mattresses were introduced, individual springs sewn into linked fabric bags, as were latex rubber mattresses, the most expensive form of mattress.

It is easy to see how  beds developed from these earlier forms. The essential elements of the frame and the mattress have developed from the earliest bed designs, and almost certainly will continue to do so as beds continue to be designed.


Pemberley said...

Always good to get a reminder on the history of things we take for granted. Love the picture of the twin beds!

Anonymous said...

What beautiful bedrooms! That twin bedroom is just yummy. Love the black head boards with the navy and white.

niartist said...

Gorgeous photos. Particularly love the last one. So me! Hope you'll stop by my blog when you have time! :) Maybe share a vignette or two on fridays! :) Take care, Artie

Claudia Juestel said...

Thanks for the little history lesson. I like the idea that the ancient Egyptians also entertained in bed. :)

I also previously learned that the first water-filled bed used in Persia 3,600 years ago. The were made from sun-warmed goatskins filled with water.

I am sure there are many more interesting tid bits about early beds.




Here it is the freshness,inspiring bedrooms and the designs I love. Each bedroom treatment detail is fabulous look!I love the textures and patterns of each space. So Chic and elegant.Thanks for the little history lesson :).Love your Blog!

With love... said...

Such a nice post. I love the different type of beds.
Thank you!

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