Updated at: 03-10-2022 - By: Sienna Lewis

Throughout the decades, the Murphy bed has been a space-saving option. When it comes to tiny areas, folding wall beds have long been a source of fascination.

Popularity of Murphy beds, which can be used to change guest rooms into work-from-home offices or provide a flexible area in a camper conversion, has recently increased significantly. They can be used in a wide range of modern homes.

Wall beds had previously been in high demand. More than a century before a Murphy bed was even referred to as a Murphy bed, they became popular. You may have seen a Murphy bed used as a slapstick gag in a sitcom. It may be difficult to escape those first impressions, but modern wall beds have come a long way since their bulky metal frames.

Modern Murphy beds combine functionality with aesthetics. According to Apartment Therapy, they’re more popular than ever, especially among those who live in cramped quarters. Murphy beds are likely to become more common, but how much do you know about the furniture?

This article traces the history of the wall bed, from its earliest, most storied incarnations to the current, most spectacular iterations. A chronology of the Murphy bed’s development is provided here.

Why is it called a Murphy bed?

The Murphy bed is named after its inventor, as you might assume. Due to a lack of space in his studio apartment at the turn of the twentieth century (although some stories claim a more provocative cause), William L. Murphy designed a bed that folded neatly into a closet. In 1911, he founded the Murphy Wall Bed Company and patented his invention.

Why are Murphy Beds Called Murphy Beds?

All About Murphy Beds; What Are They?

You’re not the only one who’s curious about the murphy bed.

It’s not only me who is interested.

Let’s get the definition of a murphy bed straightened out before moving on to its past.

This bed is perfect if you’re renting a small space and don’t have enough room for a bed and other furniture.

A murphy bed is the perfect option if you want to maximize your space.

In addition, it is a bed that can be folded up when you’re not using it.

It can be attached to a wall or a cabinet that closes.

That’s how it works, then.

You may save a lot of room and money with this one, especially if you’re simply renting at the moment.

In this method, you won’t need a large amount of room or pay a high rent.

Why do you call it a murphy bed?

We’ll get right down to the business of addressing the question now.

Why is it referred to as a “murphy bed”?

This bed was found and invented in the 19th century.

After William Lawrence Murphy, the inventor of it.

At the time, Murphy had a common problem that most individuals had.

To put it another way, it was like having a whole house to yourself.

It has the living room as well as the bedroom where he slept at night.

The concept that women couldn’t enter a man’s room horrified Murphy.

If that were to happen, how would he be able to invite the female he was seeing?

So he came up with a plan to hide it.

That’s when he came up with the idea of hiding the bed in his closet.

With this, he is able to welcome his guest into his room.

After a few years, in 1900, he married the woman he had previously mentioned.

He started his own business the year after he got married.

Murphy Bed Company is the company’s name.

The reason for this is that the company is so well-known, but this concept went too far.

Pull–out beds have replaced murphy beds in modern times.

Is a murphy bed built-in?

You might ask if a murphy bed is made in the same way as ordinary beds, given its history.

Alternatively, you can buy them from the store and put them together at home.

It’s impossible to buy a murphy bed from a store because the concept comes from the idea of putting a bed in a closet.

Most of the time, it is affixed to a wall or a closet.

Because of this, you are only able to purchase a mattress for a murphy bed.

Parts of your bed can be purchased separately.

You’d also need a professional to do the installation for you.

It’s important to have a strategy and to keep it on track.

Is there anything you can do to come up with ideas and designs for your murphy bed?

Either a wall that can be decorated or a wall that can be pulled out and moved about can be used.

The back of it can be painted to match the color of your wall.

No one would be able to see it that way.

When people pay to come see you, you want them to be amazed at how well-kept and beautiful your facility is despite its diminutive size.

You don’t have to scramble to correct things if an unexpected visitor comes by.

Flip or fold your bed to fit on the wall and closet, and you’re done.

With this bed, you’ll get the most out of your space, convenience, and creativity.

Small-space households, of course, aren’t the only ones who can benefit from this.

That’s something you can do with your vans, too.

When you wish to travel or live in a van, you can create a spacious bed and cabinet.

That way, you’ll be able to save room and sleep better at night.

Where Did the Murphy Bed Originate?

An alleged love interest is said to have inspired the development of the wall bed. William Lawrence Murphy, a San Francisco-based inventor, is credited with inventing the fold-out bed in 1900.

Murphy was infatuated with a young opera singer, but at that age, inviting a woman into a gentleman’s bedroom was considered profoundly immodest. When not in use, he stored the full-size mattress on a metal frame in a closet to get around this problem. Murphy was able to transform his one-room apartment into a parlor with the use of a wall bed, allowing him to perform for the young singer.

Why Are Wall Beds Called Murphy Beds? - Closets Utah

And it worked in a number of different ways. The wall bed turned one room into two and allowed the couple to continue their romance. Later, the couple got married.

Murphy beds were not invented this way, despite this being the most well-known narrative about the invention of the fold-out bed. The Murphy bed’s ancestors trace back far further.

Foldaway beds have been around for centuries before William Lawrence’s Murphy bed was invented.

More Space Place claims that Thomas Jefferson’s iconic Monticello home featured a fold-out bed. Beds were suspended from ropes and attached to the wall in those days. It wasn’t popular, but the idea was.

By the late 1800s, foldaway beds had begun to resemble the modern design we know and love. Leonard C. Bailey, an African-American inventor, received a patent for a folding bed in 1899. In the center of the mattress was a metal frame and mattress. Mass-production of the design made it a popular choice among soldiers. As a result of Bailey’s design, sleeper sofas have become a regular sight in homes around the country.

In addition to Sarah E. Goode, another African-American woman inventor, a folding cabinet bed was initially designed and patented by Sarah E. Goode. When in the upright position, her bed served as a writing desk, a feature that can still be found in many current Murphy beds.

According to Biography, Goode, who was born into slavery in 1850, was the first African American woman to be issued a patent by the United States Patent and Trademark Office. At the same time that William Lawrence Murphy’s foldaway bed was becoming a household name, she died in 1905.

The ropes and hooks at Monticello and the patented versions of Bailey and Goode were not the only wall bed designs. With a collection of convertible beds dating back to 1885, Brooklyn Museum has something for everyone.

If you didn’t have a lot of space or extra money, a piano bed was a way to keep up with the Joneses. At the time, parlors were in high demand, but space and money were scarce.

In a way, the buyer of this convertible piano-bed could have his cake and eat it too–enjoying the propriety that a piano conferred on his parlor, while getting a rather comfortable sleeping unit for a big family living in restricted space,” the Museum’s website noted.

It’s proof that wall beds’ ability to conserve space will never go out of style.

How the Murphy Bed Got Its Name

What if you’ve always wondered how the Murphy bed acquired its name? After reading the romance story of its origin, you may not be surprised. He didn’t even use the term “Murphy Bed” to describe it.

The name “Murphy bed” was never trademarked by him. The Disappearing Bed was the initial name of Murphy’s innovation. Before establishing the Murphy Bed Company in 1911, he had patented his “In-A-Door” bed design in 1908. Fun fact: the firm has been run by the same family for decades. In 1983, the company’s new president was Clark W. Murphy, the founder’s grandson.

Over time, Murphy’s wall bed became the most popular option available. Murphy beds have also been known as pull-out beds, hideaway beds, foldaway beds and wall beds. But the inventor’s name is best known for them all: the Murphy bed. ‘Murphy beds’

The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit declared in 1989 that the word “Murphy Bed” was no longer eligible for trademark protection since it had entered common usage so fully.

The same reason that made them popular a century ago still holds true today: the ability to save valuable floor space.

A combination of good timing, a great product, and a creative marketing approach contributed to the invention’s rapid success, according to Assistant Collections Manager Robyn J. Einhorn of the National Museum of American History. Einhorn stated.

When the Murphy Bed Company moved its headquarters to New York City in 1925, Einhorn remarked that possessing a Murphy Bed became a prestige symbol.

If you’re moving into a hotel in NYC, you’ll get the Murphy bed, which means you’ll have a parlor where you can take up the bed and use it as a couch. ”

Farmingdale, Long Island-based Murphy bed manufacturer Gene Kolakowski told CBS News in 2010 that the bed’s ability to be transformed has made it a timeless classic.

For William Lawrence Murphy, an inventor and tinkerer who came up with the idea to put the bed away so that his wife could come into the living room, Kolakowski said: “If I could put the bed away then she could come into my living room.” That’s what got him going: “And when she leaves, it’s just a bedroom.”

According to Smithsonian Magazine, newspaper ads for apartments frequently included the Murphy bed as a selling factor throughout the 1920s. More than 100,000 Murphy beds were being manufactured by the Murphy Bed Company at this time.

After the Great Depression, the popularity of Murphy beds fell and remained low until well after World War II, according to More Space Place. When individuals started downsizing in the 1970s, foldaway beds re-emerged as a popular option for small-space living.

Old things have a fresh look. Murphy beds are the same way. Back in style, especially for people who live in small spaces, they are now a popular choice.

Small city apartments or suburban homes of empty nesters “continue to meet a demand in living spaces of today, whether it is for a college student’s old bedroom to become an office/guest area,” Einhorn said.

Murphy Bed Pros & Cons - Why Aren't Murphy Beds Popular?

Murphy Beds in Pop Culture

Almost since their inception, Murphy beds have been utilized as humorous props in films and television shows.

Biograph Company’s A Bulletproof Bed, which was reproduced in 1903 by Edison Pictures as Subub Surprises the Burglar, is the earliest known film to include a Murphy bed, according to Wikipedia.

Charlie Chaplin’s “One A.M.” is one of the most well-known examples of a Murphy bed in popular culture. Chaplin and the Murphy bed fought for five minutes in the 1916 picture, which ended with both parties hurt and Chaplin resigned himself to sleeping in the bathtub.

The Three Stooges, The Great Muppet Capers, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, and even the James Bond film You Only Live Twice have all featured Murphy beds in their plots.

People generally link Murphy beds with tragedy since they have been used in the media to elicit amusement by causing harm or frustration, which may explain why people associate the beds with disaster.

It’s not only movies and television either.

“The Murphy Bed” is a 1958 song by Gallup & Goodhart. The Murphy bed’s lyrics don’t bode good for it. As O’Reilly said, “The Murphy bed…the bed went up and O’Reilly went up and he never came down at all,” the idea that a wall bed could swallow a person whole was further cemented.

To this day, the idea of a “man-eating” Murphy bed is still popular among people of all generations. The Grim Reaper will come for your Sim if they die while trying to remove a bed from a wall in the popular computer game, The Sims.

Murphy beds have been embraced by popular culture over the years.

Two Broke Girls, which aired on CBS in 2011, used a Murphy bed prominently. The wall bed became hipster-chic among its cult following after Caroline Channing built it in a one-bedroom apartment she shared with a roommate in Brooklyn.

Has a Murphy Bed Ever Killed Anyone?

As a result, this frequently asked question is common. Among the top linked searches for “Murphy bed” is the question, “Can a Murphy bed kill you?” ”

Yes, in a nutshell. It’s possible to die from a Murphy bed. Murphy beds have been responsible for accidents and deaths when not properly fastened and utilized.

There are only a handful cases. Suffocation in a closed Murphy bed became an international sensation in 1982 after a drunk guy was found dead inside. Murdered Staten Island man, 33, blamed on malfunctioning Murphy bed in 2005, and two ladies perished in 2005 due to improperly placed Murphy bed. After the tragedy, the press referred to the beds as “murderous”.

Jody Rosen, a New York Times Magazine writer, wrote in a 2018 essay about these unusual events, “It was hardly an epidemic; statistically speaking, you were probably as likely to die by tripping over an ottoman or stepping beneath a collapsing piano.”

In any case, as Rosen wrote, “enough of these disasters captured the imagination, cementing in general consciousness the picture of a bed that could snap you up in its jaws while you slept.”

“When utilized appropriately, Murphy beds are not unsafe,” says Go Downsize. When you’re on top of the bed, they won’t fold against the wall. In order to prevent the frame from collapsing on you, it must be hung correctly.

Using a Murphy bed wrongly can result in damage, however Rosen points out that death by Murphy bed is highly unusual.

Are Murphy beds really dangerous?

Murphy beds leaping up into the wall and killing their occupants have been observed in multiple incidents. 737 Americans die per year from falling out of bed, according to Kim Kardashian West’s viral tweet, which cites data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The locking mechanisms on today’s Murphy beds are much more effective, so you don’t have to be concerned about them slicing you in half throughout the night. Get out of bed carefully in the morning!

Evolution of Murphy Bed Design

Today’s Murphy beds are more secure and attractive than ever before. The frame was lifted and lowered by springs or pistons in the early prototypes. Even though the metal mechanisms were crude, clumsy, and even dangerous at times, the system was successful in its purpose of enabling the mattress to fold up into a cutout slot in the wall or cabinet with a hinge.

A modern design can cost anything from a few hundred dollars to thousands of dollars, depending on the materials and size. Metal springs are still used in most wall beds on the market today, and they can be expensive.

Modern Lori Wall Beds don’t use any heavy metal frames or springs. You and your spouse may elevate and lower the Lori Wall Bed by hand, rather than relying on springs or pistons.

It is possible to raise and lower the Lori Wall Bed by hand rather of utilizing springs or pistons. When the company implemented this new design, it was able to save money and pass that money forward to the client. In comparison to typical Murphy or wall beds, which may cost up to several thousand dollars, models start at less than $1,000.

To ensure long-term stability and dependability, each bed is crafted from cabinet-grade Baltic birch plywood. Lori Wall Beds are available in a variety of pre-finished or raw finishes, depending on your preference.

A few things have remained the same. A box spring was not required for Murphy beds even back then. The majority of people still do not. As an alternative, the mattress rests on a platform and is held in place by elastic straps or a metal bar. Another cost-saving benefit of a Murphy bed is that you don’t need to buy a box spring.

The Murphy bed’s design has evolved since Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello at the beginning of the United States of America, but the concept has remained the same.

Are Murphy beds comfortable?

In a nutshell, yes, they can. As Battista points out, “a Murphy bed’s level of comfort is largely determined by the mattress. It’s possible to buy the mattress and Murphy bed separately so that it’s tailored to your body type and sleeping preferences.”

What should I know about choosing a Murphy bed?

To begin, make sure your Murphy bed will fit by measuring the available area. It’s common for customers to focus on the size of the Murphy bed when it’s folded up, but Battista points out that the measurements change when it’s opened up for usage.

Why Is It Called a Murphy Bed?

Murphy beds come in both wall-mounted and freestanding varieties. In contrast to freestanding Murphy beds, wall-mounted Murphy beds need additional installation effort due to the fact that they must be secured to the wall (and possibly the floor as well). While the former is more durable, the latter is more suited to persons in less long-term housing arrangements, such as renters.


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