The History Of The Mattress

3 Min Read | By Chris Clark

Last Modified 17 January 2024   First Added 29 June 2016

This article was written and reviewed in line with our editorial policy.

Have you ever considered how the piece of furniture you sleep on every night came to be what it is today? The history of the mattress has been a long journey, nearly as old as mankind, to become the version that we commonly see in the bedroom. We take a look at the transition of the mattress through time from its beginnings in the Neolithic age as a mound of leaves, to its transformation with the most luxurious materials to the styles we how have.

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Whatever form your mattress may be, whether it’s gel, memory foam, water or a typical box spring style, it has a shared foundation in some of the earliest mattress creations until it became how we view it today. In the following infographic we explore the history of the mattress, what makes our beds so comfortable, and look at the inventions that brought them from a pile of leaves on the ground to intricately designed monument to comfort.

History of the Mattress Infographic for Dreams


History of the Mattress – Transcript


We use mattresses every day, we rely on them to transport us to a peaceful night’s sleep and they are where dreams take place. Below we track the history of the much-loved mattress to discover the origins of our night time comfort.

Neolithic Period

Mattresses were used in the form of piles of leaves and grass covered with animal skins.

Egyptians started using raised beds made of palm leaves around the era of 3100 to 1200 BC.

Roman Period– 753 BC-476 AD

The Roman Empire built the first luxury beds. Raised platforms decorated with gold, silver and bronze. Mattresses were stuffed with reeds, hay, or wool.

Renaissance – 1300 – 1600 AD

Mattresses were made of pea shucks or straw stuffed into fabric bags and covered in velvet, brocades and silk.

King of France Louis XIV reportedly owned 413 beds! Each one was elaborately decorated with gold and silks to be truly fit for a king.

Industrial Revolution – 1700 AD

The late 18th century saw the introduction of raised, cast iron beds and cotton mattresses.

The raising of the mattress proved effective in keeping bugs and vermin away.

In 1865, the first coil spring construction for bedding was patented.

1895: Harrods begin selling waterbeds via mail order.

Modern Developments – 20th Century

Early 20th sees the invention of the box-spring mattress, reducing the number of lumps.

1930s – Innerspring mattresses become increasingly popular along with upholstered foundations.

1950s – Foam mattresses and pillows are introduced.

Today, NASA levels of comfort – 2000 AD

In 1992, Tempur-Pedic built a mattress made from the memory foam created by NASA.

Today, in the 21st century we have an unlimited choice of comfort options across a range of spring, foam and gel mattress designs.

Tailoring of mattresses has become popular to help with certain back and joint pains.

Much research has gone into the effect of the mattress on sleep, and it is recommended that mattresses are replaced every 8 years.

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