Timeline & History of Adjustable Base Bed

Last Updated on May 13, 2024

by Marc Werner, Founder - GhostBed

The adjustable bed basemay have recently come into vogue with today’s décor, but the comforting bed actually dates back to the 19th century. The first patent for a frame that is movable was registered in the late 1800s in Cincinnati, Ohio by a mattress company known as Andrew Wuest and Son.

1874 First Movable Bed Frame Patented

Simple Hinged Head

In 1874 the Andrew Wuest and Son’s moveable bed frame made its debut. The 1800s version simply had a head that was hinged in order to be elevated. It took a few more decades to create the first adjustable bed frame that would be the pattern for what we have in modern day.

1909 Adjustable Bed Base is Invented

Dr. Gatch Creates Gatch Bed

The early 1900s Dr. Willis Dew Gatch took notice of the need to save patients from severe infection from being left lying flat after surgery. In the flat position one was unable to move and wounds stood the risk of not draining to heal. In 1909 Gatch took it upon himself to invent a bed system that would allow for one to sit up at rest to drain surgical lacerations properly.

The bed, known as the Gatch Bed, was the basis for all adjustable bed frames to come. Split into three separate sections, each segment could be positioned as needed to situate the bed for exclusive needs of patients. During WWI, the Gatch Bed was used for hurt soldiers to help in healing. The comfort that the positional bed provided helped with the curative process. Gatch’s bed became the standard for the modern electric hospital bed that is still used and is now utilized for home comfort as the modern adjustable bed frame. The doctor realized his vision creating a bed that was easily maneuvered to many different positions to help achieve the best recuperation along with comfort and relaxation.

Adjustable Bed Base Modernized for Hospital Use

The bed stayed true to Gatch’s patent as it was enhanced with added features to accommodate needs of hospitals. The earlier beds were maneuvered with use of a crank at the bed’s foot coupled with the use of electricity. Now fully electric, the adjustable bed base is easily operated with the touch of a button.

The Fowler Position

Another doctor, George Ryerson Fowler, saw the need to allow for the bed to adjust to move even more to what is now known as Fowler’s position. This position permits the head of the bed to be raised up to a 90-degree right angle to allow for easier patient feeding, breathing and grooming, along with better drainage after certain procedures.

Added Hospital Features

Features are added to the adjustable bed base to assist hospital needs.

  • Wheels
  • Side Rails
  • Exit Alarm
  • CPR Function Position

These all aid in helping those caring for patients to provide safety and quick response for emergencies.

1974 Adjustable Bed Base Goes from Hospital to Home Comfort

Bed Moves from Hospital to Home Enjoyment

With TVs added to the bedroom folks came to realize that the room was no longer relegated for just sleep. The bed was becoming an entertainment center for reading, watching TV and spending quality time in. Taking notice of a need for more bed comfort, the Craftmatic Adjustable Bed company was formed in 1974 to manufacture adjustable beds specifically for home use.

The commercials showcased couples sitting up reading and watching a favorite show, or in a more reclined position ready for a peaceful slumber. The home bed made it easier for elderly, and those recovering from surgery, to achieve the same comfort and needs that the hospital bed provides.

The Craftmatic beds were merely made to bring the basic hospital bed into the home décor. Other than the comfort factor, the adjustable bed frame remained pretty much unchanged until it became more mainstreamed with a new century.

21st Century Untethered Tech-Advanced Adjustable Bed Frame

Perfect Mate for Memory Foam Mattress

The 21st Century brought technological advancements in the bed industry. The memory foam mattress became the bedding of choice as companies perfected its cooling and comfort abilities. The adjustable bed base makes the perfect platform for a mattress that is so easily bendable it can be delivered shrink wrapped in a small box.

People are seeing the adjustable bed frame become mainstream as a mate for the now sought-after memory foam mattress. With companies competing to offer the best movable base for the money, the adjustable frame has become more décor and technologically savvy. GhostBed’s adjustable bed base offers all the luxuries one could dream of but with a very affordable price tag.

Additional Modern Life Extras

No longer is the base’s remote tethered to the bed frame and used for simply raising and lowering the foot and head. The modern version of the adjustable bed base is made for lifestyle enhancement. To enrich bedtime well-being, the remote and base have plenty of extras. An electronic remote now includes:

  • Preset positions for TV watching
  • Programmable Memory Buttons
  • Built-in massage with different mode settings
  • USB Ports to charge up devices
  • Under Bed LED Lighting
  • Remote with built-in flashlight

The new-age adjustable bed frame is crafted from upholstered fabric designed for beauty to mesh with any décor.

As the movable base is being accepted by more it is evolving into something that people not only want, but also need for its ability to help improve health problems. Just as hospitals understand the need for a movable bed to improve healing, so are those seeking out the base for home use.

Allowing for the setting of a raised or lowered head and foot provides positions made to alleviate a host of health issues including: back, neck, heart, circulation, arthritis, and digestion. Using an adjustable bed base can greatly improve sleep apnea and snoring with the touch of a button. The advantage of having a comfy extra-large reclining massage chair in the bedroom to play, work, eat, and dream from makes the adjustable bed base a home furnishing must-have.

Marc Werner - Founder, GhostBed

Marc Werner

Founder - GhostBed

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Marc has spent the last two decades designing & manufacturing mattresses and other sleep products, drawing on a lifetime of experience working with the material sciences. With several patents to his name, he works closely with the GhostBed team to create products with the perfect balance of comfort & support. Learn More

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