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If you have ever slept on a water bed, then you know the unique feeling of pure relaxation and maximum sleeping comfort. Almost since its invention, the waterbed has been associated with excitement and even licentiousness. In the late 80s of the 20th century, the waterbed actually reached its peak and then slowly fell into oblivion. Read on to learn more about this unique type of bed. Here is the story of the waterbed…
Consider buying a waterbed!
The story of the water bed
The waterbed as we know it today began in California in the late 1960s. Its inventor, Charlie Hall, first experimented with chairs that he stuffed with cornstarch and even jelly. Ultimately, however, the design student at San Francisco State University came up with the idea of filling a mattress with water.
Hall presented the water-filled mattress as a master's thesis in 1968, and his entire class spent the night frolicking on it. And so the modern waterbed was born.
Charlie Hall and his innovative invention
Charlie Hall wasn't the first person to come up with the idea of filling a mattress with water. In the early 1800s, Dr. Neil Arnot developed a "hydrostatic bed for the disabled" intended to reduce bed sores. The bed consisted of a bathtub filled with warm water and a layer of rubber to prevent leaks.
And the science fiction author Robert Heinlein, inspired by the time he spent bedridden with tuberculosis, described a waterbed in great detail in one of his books, although he never bothered to build it.
The development of technology also allows the production of waterbeds
But it was modern technology that really made the waterbed possible. So the invention of vinyl also made the invention of the water mattress possible. And that was exactly the right time for the experiments of design student Charlie Hall. Marketers quickly recognized the enticing potential of the waterbed, and Hall successfully sold his invention. His clients include members of Jefferson Airplane as well as Hugh Hefner himself. In 1971, Time magazine reported that "the waterbed section in Bloomingdale was for a while a popular meeting place for singles".
In the 1980s, the waterbed gained tremendous popularity and in 1987 it reached its peak. More than every fifth mattress bought in the USA was a waterbed. Since then, however, their market share has fallen to just under five percent. But what actually happened?
How popular are waterbeds these days?
The problem with the waterbed is that it is, or was, impractical in some aspects. Installing a waterbed is a bit complicated and takes a lot of time. Moving a waterbed back then was even more complicated and required an electric pump or other device to suck out the water. And the wooden frames could weigh hundreds of pounds. Also, there was a possibility that the mattress would leak. Therefore, waterbeds were actually forbidden in many residential complexes.
But the modern waterbed still has numerous followers. And today it can look and feel a lot different. New soft or "shaftless" waterbeds don't have the awkward wooden frame of the old models. They consist of a water-filled pouch or coils surrounded by foam sides and look like a standard mattress. A box spring water bed can also be found on the market today. Separating the water into multiple compartments reduces wave action, making for a bed that's just as supportive and not nearly as sloshing.
A waterbed can look just like a box spring bed
An interesting fact: Oddly enough, waterbeds may find a new market, but not a human one. Time magazine, which first reported on the popularity of the waterbed in 1971, published an article in 2012 on the trend towards buying waterbeds for cows. Yes, cows! Apparently, this unconventional housing helps reduce wounds and infections in cows. However, there are companies that are completely dedicated to the production of water beds for cows.
He althy sleep is of great importance!