Miami Herald Magazine

In a bed full of water you’re featherweight

The first article about waterbeds was published in The Miami Herald magazine, August 15, 1968, by Mike Toner, Herald Staff Writer


A Miami born art instructor has made a significant – and what he hopes will be a popular – contribution to modern living. Former Miamian Charles P. Hall’s newly designed bed weigh 3,000 pounds, but it softly cradles even the heaviest person who reclines on it.

Its plastic form is filled with 400 gallons of water but keep its occupants dry and cosy on a warm burgundy velvet cover.

”It’s meant to be a piece of furniture that will be an integral part of the modern houses that are being designed without rooms; it’s meant to be non-furniture for non-rooms ,’’ Hall said in San Francisco where his non-bed is being exhibited in the Cannery Galleries at Fisherman’s Wharf.

Hall’s burgundy bed is just short of revolutionary, both in design and purpose. The quivering mass of velvet-topped vinyl spreads into a seven foot square when it’s filled with water. It folds into a small space when it’s deflated.

A thermostat allows the sleeper to adjust the temperature of the water to please – up to 95 degrees, a temperature that also eliminates the need for blankets. Optional earphones for stereo music complete the picture of total relaxation for total sleep.

‘’Sleeping on it gives a person a sensation of weightlessness; I slept on it for many weeks at my apartment, and I woke up feeling incredibly rested,’’ Hall said.

He explained that the reason is apparently the bed’s ability to conform completely to personal contours, a quality that conventional mattresses do rather poorly.

‘’But it’s unlike sleeping on an air mattress; air filled furniture tends to shift back and forth rather than fold around you and it’s not really very comfortable,’’ Hall said.

Hall’s bed, however, is for more than just sleeping. It can double as a social center for small groups who want to play cards, converse, or just float around.

Article in Playboy

History sneak peek: waterbed in Playboy

Playboy is the most famous magazine for men on the world, founded in 1953 by Hugh Hefner. Everybody can recognize the famous bunny with a bow tie from a distance. The magazine became famous for its spreads, centrefolds, which featured nude women in erotic positions.

The magazine still comes out every month since the 50’s, even though its founder past away last year. It was a close observer and listener of the changes through the decades and used the current events for its articles. Therefore, we cannot be surprised that in May 1970 the waterbed found its way into this cult magazine as a novelty in sleeping. The article describes sleeping, the history of beds and comfort in very poetical way and the waterbed is presented through many pictures. Let us not forget that this is still Playboy we are talking about – comely young women in Eve’s costume are lying on the beds.

The article raised popularity and recognisability of the product to the sky, but what is more important – the moment, when the waterbed got its erotic connotation. Somehow, they were sure, that the waterbed is ideal for making love. This statement could not come in better time, as it was the 70’s – time of hippies, free thinking, experimenting. These factors lead to sales boom of the waterbed in the 70’s.