History of mattresses

A bedtime story for Heritage Month

Once upon a time, some 10 000 years ago, our ancestors used to sleep on “mattresses” they’d made from straw, leaves or grass, sometimes covered with an animal skin. Today, you can get a far more comfortable night’s sleep on our specially engineered Restonic mattresses, designed for comfort, support and sweet dreams. So how did we get here?

The Persians were the first culture to begin to make better mattresses and improve sleeping conditions. Persian royalty slept on the first water beds – goatskin filled with water.

Ancient Egyptian Pharaohs raised the mattress off the ground by using pallets – a ladder was needed to get into them. King Tut famously had a bed base made from ebony and gold. While it sounds luxurious, sleeping on the ground might have still been slightly more comfortable. In Eastern cultures, mattresses remained on the ground, like sitting and eating did too, in those times.

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When the world arrived at the Medieval era, beds evolved again. The frames were simple structures made from wood while the mattresses were stuffed straw. As time progressed, the bed frames became more ornate, which became a symbol of wealth. In fact, nobility and royalty often held important meetings in their bedrooms. King Louis XIV of France had 413 beds – just for him – and an audience in his bedroom was thought to be a great honour. Curtains were also added to mattresses and by the 18th century, mattresses began to more closely resemble modern mattresses. Cast iron beds with cotton mattresses were found to be less attractive to bugs and they made sleeping much more enjoyable for humans.

In 1865, the first innerspring mattresses were introduced, which is considered the birth of the modern mattress. From there, the inventions of the box spring, modern waterbeds, memory foam and latex mattresses all followed quickly during the industrial revolution. At the turn of the 20th century, mattresses were mass produced for the first time, making a good night’s sleep much more accessible.

In 1938, the company that would become Restonic was founded in the USA. At the time, it was called the Triple Cushion Corp. The name came from the patented triple-cushion construction of the group’s mattresses, which were designed for comfort, support and durability. This idea lives on in our patented:

Marvelous Middle technology.

In 1946, the company changed its name to Restonic and continued to grow successfully in the USA through the next few decades, especially through embracing TV commercial advertising.

Meanwhile, in South Africa, Mr Michael Metz began working for his father in 1974 in his furniture factory. In 1981, Mr Metz started Metz Bedding which subsequently became Restonic (an international brand manufactured under licence). Restonic grew from a small operation to a national sleep group, supplying all the leading furniture retailers across Southern Africa.

And that’s how Restonic South Africa came to be.

Mr Metz built a strong household brand, recognised as the bed of choice by the South African consumer. Today, Restonic SA is one of the largest bedding producers in Southern Africa, and the most vertically integrated bedding manufacturer in the world.

Restonic SA, together with Vitafoam, DesleeMattex and Connacher, is now part of KAP Industrial Holdings. Together, these entities comprise the integrated bedding division, operating from five strategically positioned locations throughout South Africa and Namibia.

Restonic is very proud of our heritage of supporting dreams since 1938. We wish everyone in South Africa a wonderful month of celebrating their heritage.

Mattress History

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