Fit for a Queen
Lloyd’s Landing was fully furnished when we bought it. Most of the furniture, particularly the living room furniture, was so musty from its proximity to the leaky roof that it was unsalvageable. But the double beds in the two rooms that had them were just fine; they were high quality and didn’t smell funny. And that was a relief, since there were so many other things to buy.
As we got deeper into all things Mid-Mod, we decided that double beds—and not queen or king beds—were a retro feature. “Cuddle up close like they did in the 1950s” seemed like a good tag line. And the rooms aren’t exactly spacious anyway, so sticking with the double beds seemed like the right choice, the choice that honored the era we were re-creating.
Dave and I have been fine with the double bed. Our most frequent visits to the lake are in spring and fall, when the nights are cooler and a little extra body heat is welcome. Because we make Lloyd’s Landing available to guests in the summer, we are almost never there in the dog days of summer, when the touch of another sweaty body is torturous.
But over time, several friends reflected that they couldn’t imagine sleeping in anything smaller than a queen bed. We know a few couples where both husband and wife are over six feet, and I must concede that a double bed would just not work for them. We also know some much shorter couples that just don’t want that much proximity to each other.
Still, I was hooked on this idea that a double bed—also called a standard mattress—was the only true mid-mod choice. In my recollection of mid-century TV shows, modern couples like the Petries (“The Dick van Dyke Show”) were relegated to twin beds and it wasn’t until “The Brady Bunch” in the 1970s that Bob and Carol got to share a bed, although it’s hard to tell now whether they had a standard mattress or larger.
But, as in many things in life, one shouldn’t rely on television to inform reality, or even memory. According to The Daily Doze, an online blog for shopbedding.com, Simmons introduced king and queen beds in 1958.
And Simmons was not alone. The mattress industry was busy responding to the growing size of the average American. Bedtimes Magazine reports that, “An October 1963 article in Bedding magazine reported that in 1900, only 4% of adult men in the United States were 6 feet or taller. By 1959, the number was 20% and women were growing taller at similar rates.”
In the late 1950s, the bedding industry joined forces with their suppliers—the United States Steel Corp., the Latex Foam Rubber Council of the Rubber Manufacturers Association and the Cotton Batting Institute—to launch a media blitz designed to convince ever-expanding average Americans that they needed bigger beds. With funding from several industries, they published magazine articles, sent scripts to media outlets, and blanketed their retail outlets with information on how to measure one’s mattress so that consumers could “Buy Bigger, Sleep Better!”
So the push for queen mattresses fell squarely into the mid-century. We swapped out a queen from our empty nest with the standard mattress in the master suite. And guess what, it fits in the room just fine.
What a relief to know that we can make more guests happy and still respect the era!