Waterbeds are old-fashioned, right? It’s simply a fad that barely made it out of the seventies, isn’t it? Well, actually, waterbeds have an interesting history, and an even more surprising future. Waterbeds are definitely here to stay, and they are more acceptable than ever. There are many reasons why the waterbed came to be known as a fad, but the unique benefits of sleeping on water keep it in the market. Now, with modern technology and manufacturing techniques, there is a resurgence of waterbed usage around the world.
The waterbed concept is almost 200 years old, according to records that indicate some type of water-filled bladder was used for invalid patients in the early 1800s. Later in the century, convinced by the potential of water as a sleep surface, Dr. William Hooper of Portsmouth, England, patented the idea. Unfortunately, he couldn’t bring a reliable product to market, and so the waterbed had to wait until the middle of the 20th Century. In the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s, science fiction writer Robert Heinlein wrote about waterbeds as futuristic furniture. He never built any prototypes, but he did bring the concept of a waterbed into the modern age.
The first modern waterbed, as we know it today, was created by Charles Hall in 1968, while he was a student at San Francisco State University in California. The 1970’s saw the rise of the waterbed as a viable sleep option, which is why they are so often associated with the decade.
Early designs consisted of simply a vinyl bag, filled with water, resting in a wooden box. This was definitely a departure from more conventional bedding styles of the time, and was treated more like a fad by the bedding industry. However, people who slept regularly on waterbeds would come to swear by them as a superior sleep experience. Years later, science and technology would confirm water as superior in reducing pressure poin