This question: What are the differences between Murphy Beds, Wallbeds, and Pull-Down Beds came up often in the years we displayed our wallbeds* in the different Costco warehouses around Puget Sound, aka the Greater Seattle Area.
The bed is named for William Lawrence Murphy (1876–1959). According to legend, he was wooing an opera singer, but living in a one-room apartment in San Francisco, and the moral code of the time frowned upon a woman entering a man’s bedroom. Murphy’s invention converted his bedroom into a parlor. Although wallbeds were offered in the Sears and Roebuck Catalogs before this, Mr. Murphy improved on the design and mechanism and obtained patents over the next several years. In 1989, the Court ruled that the term Murphy Bed was no longer eligible for trademark protection.
Traditionally, a Murphy Bed is a wall or floor mounted mechanism, with lifting springs along the bottom, which raises and lowers a mattress. The leg deploys automatically when the bed is pulled down. It can be free-standing, installed in a closet, or hidden within a large cabinet. A Murphy Bed is separate from what encloses it.
A Wallbed is different from a Murphy Bed. It too, raises and lowers a mattress with the help of springs, but in this case, they are on the sides of the bed cabinet. A wallbed consists of a frame, mechanisms, leg and cabinet. The cabinet and frame TOGETHER make a Wallbed. The face panels are connected to the frame. The frame is connected to the spring lift mechanisms. The spring lift mechanisms are connected to the shoulder bone. The shoulder bone is connected to the neck bone. Oops! We got a little lost there! (Back on track now!) One other difference between Murphy Beds and most wallbeds is the leg is operated manually.
The term: Pull-Down Beds is used mostly in moments of total brain-lock, when we resort to hand motions. (Again, that is from my Costco Special Event “Experiences List.”)
Murphy’s original designs and materials are up-graded by modern designers, materials, and techniques, but the basic aim is the same: Disguise a bed where space is limited, attractive solution desired, and need for a good night’s sleep is great. Needs have always been the mother of inventions, right?
It appears that Mr. Murphy actually got married to the dame he desired to woo. Whereas we cannot promise you that marriage proposals will come as a result of buying and installing one of our Great American Wallbeds, we can promise you this – a comfortable night’s rest, in a bed attractively disguised in a wall, until you pull it down.