The History Of Waterbeds

November 19, 2015 in Daily Bulletin

Josie Rubio delved into the history of the waterbed:

  • Waterbeds have been around for 3,000 years. They enjoyed a surge of popularity for a while in the late 1800s.
  • However, being unable to regulate the temperature of the water meant that they soon lost appeal.
  • In 1968 a university student created a water bed that suddenly became a symbol of sex appeal, with couples engaging in playful romps on the fluid filled mattresses.
  • So strong was the link to sexual activity that dealers who sold the mattresses were described as “seedy” and sold them along with things like “orgy butter”.
  • In New York City a Bloomingdale’s public water bed display became a meeting place for singles.
  • Which is odd because landlords were increasingly banning water mattresses in NYC. They were difficult to get through the door and when moving out tenants had a tendency to leave the water bed rather than go through the trouble of draining and disposing of it.
  • Some landlords even required that waterbed insurance be purchased in case the family cat Mr. Scruffles decided to scratch it open.
  • Water beds eventually lost their sex appeal as they were soon marketed to the sick and elderly as therapeutic devices.

Read about the urban myths that flew around about water beds, the role they’ve played in popular culture, how Hugh Hefner liked his water bed, and other details here.

Source: Van Winkle’s