Waterbeds – Then and Now
Waterbeds first came on the scene in the late 1960’s through the 1970’s best known as the product owned by hippies during a time of psychedelic drugs, the sexual revolution/ liberation, and bad clothing. In their hay day it is said that they owned a whopping 20 percent market share. While they are no where near that popular today, they revolutionized how and what we sleep on. Little did we know how beneficial they could be for those with back problems and health issues, such as allergies and asthma – considering most were purchased just for fun!
The early waterbed was simply a large vinyl bladder, filled with water and placed in a basic wooden frame. Specially designed heaters warmed the water and allowed us to control temperature through the seasons. While these were certainly an innovation of the times, there were difficulties. Getting in and out was particularly difficult, and the wave effect of tossing and turning could certainly disrupt a partner’s sleep. Rails placed between the frame and the mattress assisted entering and exiting, but little was done for the sleep disruption of waves.
Modern Sleep Technology has Transformed Waterbeds
Like any bed made, H2o beds are not perfect, however most of the early difficulties have been remedied. Today, the waterbed experience is quite different, and consumers will be pleasantly surprised when they visit a showroom and try them out. There are, in fact, two general categories of waterbeds today:
Hard-sided waterbeds are nearly identical in design to the original ones, there are few manufacturers still making them so styles really haven’t changed much. Innomax is one of the few companies still building them. Innomax still believes that their is a market for these beds and has developed several more modern versions of the old design. Another useful change is that vinyl. Today’s vinyl quality is better and is a few mil thicker with better seams. Finally baffling wave control systems within the mattresses are still available and with significant improvements that help contribute to a greatly reduced “wave effect.” As with original waterbeds, the mattress is placed into a wooden frame, with rails, a liner, and a heater. Customers who have had experience with original waterbeds will find these new hard-sided waterbeds greatly improved!
Soft-sided waterbeds look like any regular mattress and typically include a quilted zippered casing. Within the vinyl safety lining are holding chambers that contain water. There are a couple different methods to slightly or substantially reduce waves. The advantage to soft-sided mattresses is that they can be placed either within a traditional metal / wood bed frame or be installed on different types of pedestals. Their look mimics a regular mattress and doesn’t require special size sheets and bedding.
The holding chambers are available in 3 soft-side waterbeds variations. The first is the hydraulic one which includes small vinyl coils that essential fills and drains with water when a person lies down on the bed. Tubes, single and dual bladders are the most popular. These mattresses can be free flowing or fully waveless and are a viable options for those who want a traditional mattress feel but the therapeutic effects of a waterbed.
Often, individuals with waterbeds have purchased an entire bedroom suite when they decide that they no longer wish to have a watered filled with water. Rather than face discarding an entire room of furniture, consumers may now purchase regular mattresses called a waterbed insert which is designed to replace water mattresses. These “conversion” mattresses will provide a one-inch opening on all sides, so that, when placed in a frame, they can easily be manipulated for linen changes.
Whether you need a new waterbed mattress, an entirely new waterbed system or you simply wish to convert your waterbed mattress, you now have lots of options!