Whether fact or folklore, here is a breakdown of the mattress' humble beginnings. Its a long history - after all, humans have been sleeping as long as they have been living! The historical records differ slightly but here is a good start to appreciating how far our mattresses have come.
A very long time ago...9500 BC: The Neolithic period. The 'primitive' human sleeps on piles of grass, leaves and/or straw using mats or animal skins as a covering.
3400 BC: The Egyptians rule. Egyptian Pharaohs sleep on raised pallets. Tutankhamen sleeps on a bed of ebony and gold. Beds look a lot like coffins - chests lined with linen. Normal Egyptian folk are said to sleep on palm bows in the corner of a room.
1600 BC: The Persian period. The first waterbed is said to be created from goat skins.
27BC - 393AD: The Roman Empire. The Romans who worshiped all things hedonistic create a water cradle where one could fall asleep covered in warm water before being placed in a cradle.
1500s: The Renaissance. Mattress covers become luxury as people have access to fabrics such as velvets, brocades and silks. The inner stuffing remains straw, reeds and/or feathers.
1600s: Common folk use mattresses made from a wooden frame with rope/leather creating a framework to support a bag of straw/wool covered in cheap fabric.
1800s: Quality cotton cover becomes the norm filled with wool, horse hair, coconut fibre and cotton. In 1865, the first coil spring mattress is patented and later the traditional timber frame is replaced with a metal frame of steel and iron. The combination of a steel base and non-edible mattress inner decreases the incidents of pests in the bedroom such as rats and insects. This in turn, improves sleep hygiene and health.
The modern mattress is born!
But, it would take another 100 years of technological development and industrialization to turn the modern mattress into the comfortable creature that we know and love today. Don't miss Wednesday's blog to find out how the mattress has been shaped by the last few decades.