What do James Bond, Charlie Chaplin and Mickey Mouse all have in common? They all had a run in of some kind with a Tulsa Murphy bed. Bond was trapped inside of a Murphy bed and gunned down, Charlie couldn’t sleep a wink in one because it kept opening and closing and poor old Mickey found the skeleton in the bed instead of a closet. For years the Murphy bed has been the butt of many jokes coming out of Hollywood but there was a time when the Murphy bed was serious business.
Back in the 1920s Murphy beds were all the rage for hotels, motels and apartment buildings, especially in the big cities like New York and San Francisco. The reason these beds were so popular back then is the same reasons why the Tulsa Murphy bed is enjoying a surge in popularity today, space. In fact, space, or lack of, is the reason the Murphy bed was invented.
According to the history of the Murphy bed William L Murphy invented the Murphy bed because he lived in a tiny one-room apartment and a proper young woman’s reputation would be destroyed if she were caught inside a man’s bedroom. Murphy needed a way to turn his bed sitter apartment into a respectable place for young ladies. To do so he needed a way to hide the bed easily. His solution was to hide the bed in a closet using a spring mechanism that allowed him to turn his small apartment back into a bedroom when his lady left. Necessity is the mother of invention and the Murphy bed was invented. Although times have changed and ladies no longer wear corsets or need chaperones the Murphy bed is still an excellent solution for many small space design problems.
The Murphy bed or wall bed as it is also known is a wonderful way of increasing the usability of a small area. In fact Murphy beds are an excellent solution for any who may require a multifunction room such as a home office, workout area and guest room all in the same space. Since Murphy beds today are built into their own cabinets rather than an existing closet other excellent ideas for places to use the Murphy bed are dorm rooms, efficiency or studio apartments or even the living room.
So what exactly is the Murphy or wall bed?
The term Murphy bed or wall bed is a term used by North Americans to describe any type of bed that is hinged or mounted to a surface so that it can be folded into a cabinet, wall or closet. Most Murphy beds are actually very well camouflaged. They often look like a simple cabinet or shelf system and can easily be customized to fit into any decor.
Murphy beds are actually pretty sophisticated contraptions these days. In the past beds were powered by a spring system which had to be adjusted occasionally to prevent accidents similar to what Charlie Chaplin went through. Today some Murphy beds are still powered by springs but they are no longer a safety issue. While some Murphy beds use a piston mechanism that relies on air pressure to help raise and lower the unit. The one thing that hasn’t really changed about the Murphy bed is the way the mattress and bedding is attached. Large rubber bands or a belt buckle system is still used.