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Waterbed Mattress Guide

Waterbed mattresses were all the rage in America during the 1970s. They slowly died out as more and more people decided sleeping on such a mattress was uncomfortable. Yet now they are making a comeback as advanced technology has solved a lot of the earlier problems. But did you know that the waterbed mattress has been around since the 1800s? Well, it's true.

Reports of primitive water beds exist as far back as the early 19th century. References to waterbeds even appear in 1800s literature like the novel North and South, and in an article written by Mark Twain in 1871. The first known instance of a waterbed was not really a bed at all, rather it was a bathtub/bed combination invented by a Scottish doctor named Neil Arnott.

Arnott's Hydrostatic Bed was comprised of a tub of water covered by a waterproof piece of canvas. Normal bedding was placed on top of the canvas and patients would then lie on the bedding. The doctor used his invention as a means of preventing bed sores in invalids and others who were confined to a bed for long periods of time.

The modern version of the waterbed mattress known in modern America was patented in 1971. It quickly went to market and became one of the hottest bed for new buyers. Unfortunately, it also became synonymous with the hedonistic and pleasure-seeking culture of the hippie era.

Problems with Early Waterbed Mattresses

The waterbed mattresses manufactured in the 1970s and early 80s were nothing more than large plastic bags filled with water. The mattresses were contained by a wood frame which stood on a pedestal 6-12 inches off the floor. With nothing in the mattress to stop the free movement of water, waves were a common problem. For those who were easily seasick, this was a big issue. It could also be unpleasant for couples who had different sleeping styles and patterns. Every time one partner moved the other would be disturbed.

Temperature control was another issue for the early waterbed mattress as there was only one zone and one temperature control. Again, this was an issue for couples who preferred different water temperatures. One partner could be too cold, the other could be too warm, and it could be a source of constant argument. Many a couple gave up their waterbed mattress within a short time, returning to their old inner spring model.

New Waterbed Mattress Technology

New technology has erased almost all of the problems related to the old waterbed mattresses. First and foremost, waveless and semi-waveless mattresses are now being produced which limit the movement of water. Plastic and metal baffles divide the waterbed mattress into multiple compartments which contain water movement and keep it at a minimum. The baffling system means that partners don't feel one another's movements any more than they would on an inner spring mattress.

Temperature control has been improved with the construction of dual-zone mattresses. Dual-zone mattresses are really two mattresses in one. Each mattress has its own sidewalls, baffling system, and temperature control. An added benefit of a dual-zone mattress is that each partner can choose his or her firmness according to the amount of water inside the bag; dual-zone mattresses maybe one of the best things that ever happened to the waterbed mattress industry.

A third technology advancement comes in the way of soft sided mattresses. In the old days, the waterbed mattress was enclosed in a wood form with hard wood sides. Rails had to be installed over the sides of the bed to prevent leg injury when climbing in and out. While the rails prevented scrapes and cuts, it meant an extra hurdle to overcome. But today's soft-sided waterbed mattresses contain the bag inside a fabric casing that resembles a standard mattress. The days of climbing over rails are now long gone.

Water bed mattresses have come a long way since the 1970s. Now more than ever, they are comfortable, high quality, and definitely a bedding option worth considering. Who knows; you may even be able to relive the 1970s without getting seasick.