There were a number of reasons people back in the 1800’s choose to elevate their mattresses so high. They were certainly not for aesthetics ……… but instead were more for practical everyday reasons. Beds elevated people away from cold drafts which plagued many of the homes back then. Heat was primarily generated from pot belie coal stoves or from conventional fireplaces, which were only efficient if you were standing in front of them.
The second reason were to elevate the occupants from rodents, which also plagued most households. Mice were not overly crazy about climbing up steel poles. Although it didn’t totally eliminate an occasional rodent from climbing on board.
So as iron beds were eventually fazed out as the primary form of bed frame, and were replaced with low to the ground Hollywood or Harvard bed frames, 5″ from the ground, man found he needed something to give a similar height to the mattress. Which now seemed quite low. Some “rocket scientist” , and I use the term quite facetiously, decided to invent the “box spring”. On the surface, this may have seemed like brilliant idea. But lets look a little more sensibly at what a box spring really does…….
Remember the last time you bought a mattress and the company you bought it from said to be sure and turn and flip it every few months. Did they explain why they wanted you to do that? No they didn’t. Here’s why……..your box spring has springs in it……your mattress also has springs in it, that’s unless you have a “memory foam mattress. Now….try and picture this…..remember when you were younger and you had a “slinky” ? It was a bunch of thick wire formed in circles…..they were a lot of fun watching them go down stairs. Now imagine trying to position one “slinky” on top of another one. The likelihood is they are going to fall off, because you can get them perfectly aligned with each other. That’s the same case with the springs in a mattress and the supposed corresponding springs in the box spring. But if they aren’t perfectly aligned, the pressure from people on the mattress are going to force irregular weight on one side of the spring and that’s when you start causing “divots” an “lumps”. Flipping and turn the top mattress slow the alignment problem, so you get a few more years out of the bed or at least until the warranty is up.
OK…….now you know the scam of “box springs”. What can be done. Well what you can do to correct the height problem of using a big thick pillow top mattress and a big thick box spring is this………..eliminate the box spring……there is a thing called a hard foundation or a bunkie board. It’s only 2″ high as appose to an 8″ box spring. That effectively lowers your mattress on the tall iron bed to a much more manageable level and also gives your mattress a solid foundation for the interior springs of the mattress to evenly work.
Iron beds can still be a very comfortable way to house the new mattress heights. But box springs on old antique iron beds serve no purpose at all.
I hope you’ve found this blog informative . I invite you to revisit my website
to answer any and all questions you might have about antique iron beds.
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