Mattress 101: The History of Beds & Mattresses

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From the grass and leaves of long-lost civilisations to the furs and skins used in ancient Egypt, mattresses have come a long way. The earliest documented use of any bedding was documented some 77,000 years ago and has since evolved rapidly throughout the ages.

Over the years, the materials used in the mattresses we can buy online and at stores in Singapore have changed dramatically, from natural latex mattresses to memory foam mattresses. The design and size of our beds have also seen a transformation, with the queen size mattress and king size mattress being invented over time. But one thing has remained the same: people will always love sleeping on them. Here's a look at the history of mattresses and beds and how they've evolved over time.

Ancient History

The earliest form of humans was known to sleep in trees to protect themselves from predators. Once they discovered fire, they could sleep on the ground and use fire to defend against predators at night. 

The first mattress was birthed when eeds and rushes were stuffed with leaves and grass, with antimicrobial plants often added to naturally repel insects like mosquitoes. 

Classical Era

Between 3,000 and 1,000 BCE, other ancient cultures like the Egyptians and Romans began to elevate their beds to protect against rodents, snakes, and other pests. Raised sleeping platforms made from wood, perhaps the earliest iteration of the wooden bed frame we commonly see in Singapore now, were also an excellent way to regulate cold and warm temperatures.

Mattresses were elevated using rope and string by the ancient Romans. While the average Roman used stuffing made of reeds or hay, the wealthy used more expensive materials such as feathers or wool. 

Medieval Times

Beds were simple during Medieval times and were usually made of wood. Mattresses were stuffed with straw or hay, and placed in the bed box. The poorer population often slept on hay or leaves on the ground. 

Sometime in the 12th century, beds became more ornate for the elite. In the later half of the Medieval period, mattresses started to be stuffed, and curtains started to be hung around beds for more privacy. 

Renaissance Period

It was during the Renaissance that beds became increasingly lavish and a symbol of wealth and power. The 17th and 18th centuries saw a peak in luxurious beds, with King Louis XIV believed to have 413 beds. Opulent decorations peppered the headboards, and curtains enclosed all sides of the bed. 

Beds became simpler in the 19th century as practicality and function triumphed over decadence. The popularity of four-poster beds dropped, and metal frames became more common than wood. Mattresses also evolved with the invention of box springs that were seen as a way to limit movement and prevent lumps from forming in the bed

During the Industrial Revolution, mattresses and beds could be mass-produced, making them accessible to almost everyone. 

Present Day

Fast forward to present day, a plethora of new options have been birthed. Natural latex and memory foam mattresses have been gaining popularity over the more traditional box springs, and there are a wide range of sizes designed to meet different needs. Bed frames too have developed by leaps and bounds. From metal and wooden frames to platform and space-saving storage beds, there is a bed frame for every preference and budget. 

Check Out The Latest Mattresses With The Mattress Boutique

Looking for a contemporary mattress for your home in Singapore? Shop The Mattress Boutique’s range of quality mattresses in one of our showrooms or browse our extensive mattress collection in our online store. We look forward to hearing from you! 

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