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The History of King Size Mattresses

Up through the 1940s, most Americans slept on twin or double beds. To increase sales, mattress manufacturers promoted the idea of purchasing two twin beds, but it never fully caught on. Around the middle of the 20th century, manufacturers began introducing larger mattresses, which were later standardized into the “king” and “queen” sizes we know today. These larger mattresses were embraced, in part because Americans were growing larger than before the war, and in part because the postwar economic boom meant that many Americans had larger homes in the newly built suburbs that could easily accommodate bigger mattresses. Manufacturers kept up the demand by advertising that these larger mattresses could promote better sleep and underscoring that the price increase per inch was low (in many cases, an extra inch correlated to an extra $1). These advertising campaigns paid off: in 1953, king size bedding represented less than 1% of overall sales, but by 1963, that percentage had risen to 5.5% and it reached an impressive 10% the following year. Today, king size mattresses have only become more popular.

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