Cool Historic Bed Facts From Around the World


There are probably a lot of things people should not know about other folks’ beds. But after some healthy historical distance, it can be fun to drag out some dirty laundry (bed sheets in this case). So here’s a collection of interesting and even scandalous trivia about beds you can use at your next water cooler session. We’re sure someone will be impressed. 

  1. King Tut (disco Tut!), or Tutankhamen (funky Tut!), had a bed made of ebony and gold. 

    Well, that’s not extravagant at all…
  2. Here’s a test.  Waterbeds were: a) invented over 3,000 years ago in Persia and were made of goatskins filled with water. b) designed by a Scottish physician in the 1800s to reduce bedsores in sickly patients. c) originally called “The Pleasure Pit” when they stormed the market in the 1960s. d) all of the above. Surprisingly, the stories represented by a, b, and c are all a part of the history of the waterbed. If you chose d, you cheated and read ahead, but you’re correct!
  3. Apparently, beds in 15th century England were so disgusting that Parliament had to step in, writing a statute to regulate the content of mattress stuffing: good, clean feathers were required in place of old, dirty horse hair.
  4. The expression “sleep tight” dates back to the 16th and 17th centuries when mattresses were stuffed with straw and held up with ropes tied across the bed frame. If the ropes were tight, you could actually get a decent night’s sleep!
  5. In Shakespeare’s will, he mentioned his wife only once to leave her the “second best bed.” Ouch.
  6. King Louis XIV collected beds, eventually owning 414, and even held court in his royal bedroom (nothing like working from home!).
  7. Over time, all beds collect dust mites. In ten years, a mattress can double its original weight due to being filled with tens of thousands of these little suckers.

    Ew ew ew ew ew ew. Suddenly I really need that new mattress I’ve been putting off buying.
  8. What was the first television show to picture a couple sleeping in the same bed? a) I Love Lucy. b) The Brady Bunch. c) Mary Kay and Johnny. d) The Flintstones. The answer is the Mary Kay and Johnny show that first aired in 1947!
  9. A traditional Japanese bed, essentially a pallet (called a shikibuton) laid on the floor, is still widely used in the country. The pallets can be rolled up and stored, allowing rooms to be used for other purposes during the day.

    A Shikibuton, traditional Japanese bed.