Waterbeds have been in use practically or as theoretical possibilities since the early nineteenth century. A late nineteenth century, 1871 to be precise, mention of water beds is also made by Mark Twain. The real practical use of the water bed was initiated in 1968 by Charles Prior Hall. He was a design student at San Francisco State University in California when he first thought of a chair with a water filled seat. This did not work out so he turned to making a water bed. In 1971 he got the patent for the water bed which he named the Pleasure Pit. He rode on the success of his invention for a long time though always hounded by competitors who made a lot of money by disregarding his patent.
The water bed is basically a mattress filled with water placed in a wooden frame or otherwise in a soft sided frame. The soft sided water bed looks like any other mattress but is placed on a special platform and frame made of strong and reinforced foam. The water bed is also equipped with heating and a thermostat. The hard sided waterbeds are placed in a wooden frame and on a plywood base which sits on a platform. In the nineteen seventies it was a sign of the times and was part of the urge to try anything at least once. The waterbeds fit right into the new open minded culture growing out of the beatnik sixties. The early water beds had only a single chamber which caused a lot of wave movement when someone got on to them. Later compartments were made to counter this wave movement and finally air was mixed into multi-chamber compartments inside the water beds.
The water compartments themselves are made of polyvinyl chloride or PVC. The heating is done to a temperature of thirty degrees Celsius. This is about eighty six degrees Fahrenheit. The heating pad which is placed below the water containers consumes an average of 150-400 watts of power. Water beds are not recommended for the upper floors of old buildings because a filled up water bed weighs a lot; old buildings were not made for such load bearing. Also any leakage can do extensive damage to the wooden framework of such old building ruining expensive walls and carpets.
There are many advantages of the waterbeds, the main being that they can be easily cleaned by wiping. Thus the chances of there being any bed mites are negligent. Water beds are also good for people who cannot sleep on hard surfaces because of some medical problem.
The disadvantages are in the cost of heating up the bed. There is a big problem in finding bed sheets for the hard sided water beds. They are very difficult to move and having moved the filling of the bed can be a project lasting a few days. Care has to be taken in the choice of clothes while lying down for zippers and buckle ends can cause punctures.
People have been using waterbeds for many years and advantages and disadvantages are always there in various kinds of mattresses. All in all a water bed is an adventure and a fun feature for the home of a variety seeking individual or couple.