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The Facts About a Waterbed

Nov 29, 2007
There was a time when waterbeds were no more than a vinyl water bladder surrounded by a wooden frame and topped with a thin piece of foam. Most often a vinyl sheet would line the frame in case the bladder or mattress sprung a leak.

Early frames simply sat on the floor without a pedestal. The foam placed on top of the waterbed would insulate the sleeper from the mattress. This was necessary because the water in the bladder was usually much cooler than the normal body temperature of 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit. Sleeping directly on the water mattress would actually draw heat from the body and make for a very chilly night.

Early waterbed mattresses were of poor quality and developed a bad reputation. One problem that would dog waterbed owners for many years was the fear many landlords had of waterbeds. Part of the fear was based on misperception that waterbeds were too heavy for the average floor. The fact was that the average residential refrigerator weighed more per foot than the average waterbed and there were no reported cases of refrigerators spontaneously falling through the floor nor did any waterbeds.

The other concern of many landlords was fear of a catastrophic release of water if the mattress should rupture. Most bladder leaks were small and there are few recorded incidents of mattress ruptures. Many property owners refused to allow tenants to have waterbeds. Many land lords would require the payment of special damage deposits or would make the tenant purchase a waterbed insurance policy.

As the popularity of waterbeds increased, the designs changed and got better over time. Manufacturers were keen to overcome the bad reputation waterbeds had acquired during the nineteen sixties and started to offer beds with more reliable mattresses and sturdier frames.

It was not long before the frame surrounding the mattress was placed on a pedestal, raising the water bed to the height of most conventional beds. The foam pad was soon replaced by electric heaters that would warm the water to the sleepers comfort. Frame systems became much more elaborate with bookshelf headboards, padded side rails and built-in lighting and sound systems.

Early waterbeds were designed with a one-piece bladder-type mattress. This would result in the water sloshing back and forth and not everyone was wild about the feeling. Again manufacturers responded with new designs. The bladder-type mattress was replaced with a mattress featuring internal baffles that would mute the wave action of previous designs.

Other baffle designs that used foam material inside the mattress that would also keep the bed from rocking back and forth. These designs remained a standard for many years but new developments in waterbeds were on the horizon.

In the nineteen eighties, a new type of waterbed system hit the scene and would change the waterbed market yet again. The new design featured a mattress that, on the outside, had the look and feel of a traditional mattress and did not require a wooded frame. The real difference could be found on the inside.

The old waterbed mattress was replaced with a series of water-filled tubes that ran down the long axis of the bed. The tubes could be filled to achieve the desired firmness and were encased in an upholstered frame. The size was identical to the industry standard for conventional bedding so gone was the need to buy traditional waterbed sheets. The need for an electric heater was eliminated due to the thick fabric padding on top of the mattress.

Waterbeds are still popular today though the trend has reverted back toward conventional sleep systems.
About the Author
Mitch Endick is a short article writer for the popular
good sleep site: http://www.WaterbedAuthority.com. He
provides informative advice on waterbeds, waterbed mattresses, waterbed accessories and good sleep habits.
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