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.