Where Do Mattress Size Names Come From?


For those who have ever been curious and looked in to the origins of the bed, they know that mattresses have a rather interesting history. As long as humans have been around, we have always needed a place to sleep. Mattresses have changed a lot since the dawn of time and creation of man, starting with piles of vegetation and debris in the damp corner of some cave, evolving to the ever classy, stately, and royal four poster bed anchoring the center of a massive bedroom chamber occupying the corner of a house.




The modern day mattress that most of us are familiar with didn't really become widespread and popular until Zalmon G. Simmons began mass-producing them in 1926. Even though they cost $40, an amount comparable to nearly $575 today, they were so comfortable that millions of Americans began purchasing mattresses from him.

Even though mattresses like the one produced by Zalmon Simmons remained widely popular, by the 1940’s the majority of Americans were still sleeping on twin-sized mattresses--though salesmen at the time were still known to encourage the purchase of two twin sized mattresses for those special buyers. There were some full-sized beds in circulation at the time, but it wasn’t until the middle of the decade where mattress companies began trying to introduce larger, more luxurious mattress sizes.

The origins of modern mattress size names

While larger beds became available during the 1940’s, the idea didn’t exactly catch on until the 1950’s where they began trying to market these different mattress sizes under other names, such as the “queen” and the “king”. These names were due, in part to the marketer’s appeal of the natural desire in humans to “keep up with Joneses”. The bed had become a new “status symbol,” so to speak. Mattress sizes were given the names of king and queen and they soon began to gain traction in popularity throughout America in the 1960's because of their royal-sounding names.




However, clever marketing plays weren’t the only driving force behind the increased demand for a larger mattress. Research during that time showed that in the early 1900’s, only 4% of men were 6 feet or taller, yet by 1959, more than 20% of men were 6 feet or taller. Data also indicated that women were growing on average at the same rate within the same amount of time. It is no wonder that bigger bed sizes began to take off with such high demand.

The post war economic boom helped shape the modern mattress

Another factor was post WWII consumerism where millions of Americans were eager to buy products, especially those that promised a better quality of life. Mattress companies during the 1960’s were readily trying to encourage buyers to upgrade to the new, more luxurious bedding options, with common promotions like “Measure Your Mattress” and “Buy Better, Sleep Better” campaigns. News articles from that time indicate that these tactics seemed to work, as king size bed ownership rose from around 1% of the American population, to over 5.5% between 1953 and 1963. By that time, king beds accounted for 10% of the overall sales in that industry.




Mattress size names from around the world

Though there is some variation among verbiage, a lot of other countries adopted the same method of giving various mattress sizes their often royal sounding names. For instance, in places like Australia and New Zealand, common mattress sizes include the “Queen, “King”, “Super King”, or the “California King”. However, some of their smaller sized mattresses have much different sounding names, such as the “Single,”, the “Long Single”, or the “King Single”.

Depending on where you go, though, some countries stray from that line of naming entirely. In Spain, there are only two major sizes of mattress that are most commonly purchased, the individual mattress size or the matrimonial (marital) mattress size. In Italy, we see a completely different system for naming mattress sizes. Italian mattress companies market their solely by size it seems, with names like una piazza (one place), una piazza e meza (one and half places), the due piazza (two places), or the letto matrimoniale (matrimonial bed).




For some of these countries, it may be hard to tell where exactly they derive their names for their common mattress sizes. In part, it seems like the naming of mattresses comes from the culture and how the development of different sizes came about in the particular area. For America, it was based around factors like consumerism and the increasing growth of the average person. As the average person grew, so did the need for the mattresses to become bigger. While these mattress companies did profit off of the common need to have the next best thing, they were in fact serving a purpose as well, helping a growing American population sleep comfortably for many years to come.

A new mattress size is born… And it’s HUGE!

If you have ever experienced a terrible night's sleep because of trying to rest on a mattress that is too small, then I’m sure that you can relate. If you are thinking to yourself now about how you are running out of space to sleep comfortably but there haven’t been any new mattress sizes for decades, well then you must not have heard of the new Taylor & Wells Family Bed.




With the way things have been lately in the year of 2020, we don't blame you if the whole family has been starting to find themselves crawling into the master bed! With the Family Bed running out of room for everyone is no longer a problem. This bed comes in two great sizes, 10ft X 6.67ft and 12ft X 7ft. Even the smallest of the two is over 3ft larger than a standard king size bed!

If you are in the market for a new mattress, pillows, sheets or other bedding, then visit The Bedding Mart online, or stop in at any one of our 9 locations in Arkansas, Missouri or Texas. With years of expertise in the mattress industry and plenty of trained staff to help, we’ll make sure you find the perfect fit. We know how difficult finding a new mattress can be, especially during times like this. We are more than happy to help you find the right mattress for you and your family. We have a great selection sure to fit all of your individual needs. We hope to hear from you soon!

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