The waterbed (or "water bed") goes back a long way. Thousands of years ago the Persians slept on water filled goatskin bags. More recently, the first patent for a water based bed was issued in 1851 to Dr William Hooper of Portsmouth. Unfortunately his idea was ahead of the available technology and wasn't very successful. The PVC based water bed mattresses used today were developed by Charles Hall in the 1960s.
Today waterbeds are a popular item of bedroom furniture and you can buy them in all sizes from super single up to queen and even king. There are two main types of water bed on the market, hard sided and soft sided. As the names suggest, a hardside waterbed has a solid frame - usually wood - in which the mattress sits. A softside waterbed has a cushioned edge and looks at first glance similar to a normal bed.
Why Buy A Waterbed?
The basic idea behind the water bed is to manage the conflict between support and comfort. In many ways the water bed performs the same functions as memory foam. The water filled mattress distributes your weight and avoids pressure spots. Some people also like water beds because the vinyl mattress doesn't collect dust and mites. This might be useful for people who suffer from allergies or asthma.
Waterbeds have given us many visual gags down the years, however the main worries - weight, sickness and bursting - are less significant with modern high quality designs.
There are a variety of accessories you can buy from specialist supply stores, for example puncture repair kits. Many people use a special waterbed conditioner to condition the interior of the mattress and prevent the buildup of bacteria.
Most waterbeds come complete with a special built-in heater. This is usually adjustable to ensure that the bed is never too hot or too cold but kept at the best temperature for you.