A waterbed is basically a mattress/bed that is filled with water. There are two main models of this type of bed – those with a hard side and those with a soft side. The outside material is a soft PVC (or similar) material which keeps the water contained within. There are various chambers inside the bed to ensure that waves are not formed in the mattress when someone moves. Waterbeds were extremely popular after the invention of the modern version, but this popularity has declined since this time. Let’s find out who invented the waterbed and why it was invented.
Who invented the waterbed?
The first waterbed was developed in the early 19th century by the Scottish doctor Neil Arnott and it was called Dr Arnott’s Hydrostatic Bed. The bed contained a rubber canvas covering and thin bedding was then placed on top. Dr. Arnott invented this early version of the waterbed to prevent bedsores in those people who were unable to get out of bed. He did not patent the design and others went on to copy it. Despite this, his invention did not see mainstream use.
The modern waterbed was invented in 1968 by Charles Prior Hall while he was a design student at San Francisco State University. He worked with fellow students Paul Heckel and Evan Fawkes to produce the concept. His original idea was to create a chair, but it was uncomfortable so he decided to create a waterbed instead. He was granted the patent in 1971 and his company Innerspace Environments became the leading retailer. However, he was unable to defend this patent and others copied his designs.
Did you know?
The science fiction author Robert A. Heinlein described waterbeds in his novels from 1942 to 1961. His descriptions were quite detailed, but he did not attempt to actually build a working model of his design.
The sales of waterbeds were the highest in 1987 when this type of mattress made up 22% of the entire market. The popularity of this invention has declined since this time.