The History of the American Wall Bed

The modern American wall bed was originally known as the Murphy Bed. As the name suggests, the Murphy Bed was named after one William L. Murphy, the son of a gold-seeking 49er, a former stagecoach driver and sheriff, and a resident of San Francisco at the turn of the century. It was there he met his future wife.

William L. Murphy lived in a small, one room apartment which made entertaining guests difficult, as his bed took up most of his room’s square footage. Not only that, but courting customs at that time did not permit a lady to enter into a gentleman’s bedroom, and William L. Murphy was in the process of courting a young opera singer.

“Necessity is the mother of invention”, as they say, and William L. Murphy’s limited finances, nor his strict moral code, would get in the way of his chance at love. He set to work experimenting with ways of simultaneously conserving space while hiding his bed from view by storing it inside of his closet during the day. It is from this endeavor that the modern Murphy bed was born. Eventually, Murphy’s cramped bedroom apartment could be made into a comfortable parlor with ease.

Later, in 1900, the couple married.

That isn’t to say that these kinds of beds had not been around in some form or another before Murphy’s design. For example, Thomas Jefferson’s beds in Monticello hung from ropes and hooks in the alcovers of his bedrooms. What set William L. Murphy’s design apart, however, was its convenience in the folding method. Murphy built a pivot using an old closet door jamb and hinges. This pivot gave him the ability to attach and fold up against a wall without much effort.

After marrying the opera singer whom he was courting, he used a loan from her father to patent the “Murphy In-A-Dor Bed”, as well as launch a company that would make them.

Following the San Francisco Earthquake and Fire in 1906, many of the rebuilt buildings were furnished with his signature design in order to maximize space.

During The Great Depression, the Murphy Bed business dwindled due to the rationing of steel and other materials, but his original company was able to survive and still operates to this day.

In 1989, William L. Murphy’s signature design was ruled no longer entitled to trademark protection, as the “Murphy Bed” had come to be seen as a common or generic term for any kind of bed that could be folded out of sight.

Today, Murphy Beds are a household brand, having become popular “because of a combination of good timing, a quality product, and in inventive marketing strategy,” according to Robyn J. Einhorn, the Assistant Collections Manager of the National Museum of American History.

Benefits of the Modern Wall Bed

Over the years, the technology involved in wall beds has come a long way, offering a wide range of possible products. Wall beds can be made in a number of different styles, and can also serve a number of different functions. Wall beds are especially useful for people living in smaller places who need to maximize space.

Here are some of the benefits that you can get with the modern wall bed:

Wall beds will save you plenty of space

Whether you’re living in a micro-condo or a studio apartment, wall beds will be of great use because of how little space they take up. They are the ideal product for maximizing your living space. Even if you live in a large apartment, these products can be very convenient. Think of all of the vertical space on your walls that goes unused. With a modern wall bed, you can put that unused wall space to your advantage and maximize your floor space.

Wall beds are never in the way when you aren’t using them, and can be accessed easily at the end of the day. All you have to do is pull the bed down and out of the wall, or from any piece of furniture it may be installed into when you, your family, and guests are ready for bed. In the morning, simply tuck them away.

Wall beds are just as comfortable as conventional beds (sometimes even more)

Many wall beds are available with high quality mattresses that are just as comfortable and relaxing as any conventional bed. Your friends, family, and house guests will love the comfort they will get at the end of the day. Modern wall beds offer a level of comfort that pull-out sofas, rolling cots, and air mattresses just can’t match.

Modern wall beds can be customized to your specific needs

Many wall bed companies provide a variety of different wall beds and related products, guaranteeing you will find the right product for your particular style and living space requirements. There is a wide variety of finishes/colors, wall bed depths, and mattress sizes available on the market today.

Many products even come with:

  • Built in lights
  • Power supplies
  • Safety locks
  • Drop down tables
  • Antimicrobial protection

Wall beds give style and character to your home

Not only can you find modern wall beds that will compliment your home’s unique style, the wall bed itself is a fun, creative product that people find adds character and beauty to their home. Whether your bed is open or closed, you are sure to find a wall bed out there that is perfect for your home decor. Wall beds can be designed into such furniture as:

  • Crafted cabinets
  • Bookcases
  • Entertainment centers
  • Home office desks
  • Sofas

And more!

Modern wall beds create versatility in your home

By adding a wall bed to virtually any room in your home, you turn that room into a multi-functioning space that doubles as a bedroom at night. Have a home office? You can convert it into a guest room and give family members or friends an extra place to sleep at night.

Wall beds provide more resale value for your home

If you have a wall bed installed in your home and are planning on moving, you can easily disassemble it and take it with you to your new place. However, if you decide that you can leave your wall bed behind, it can add a good amount of resale value to your home.

Simply put, people like wall beds. Not only are they great space-saving products, but they are also just fun, creative products that add style and character to your living space. If a potential buyer is taking a tour of your home, show off your wall bed and even give them the opportunity to lie down in it and see for themselves just how comfy it is.

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