So picture this…you’re head over heels, but can’t quite get a few moments alone with that special someone. Yeah — we’ve all been there and Valentines day is quickly approaching, but now imagine that you’re living in the late 1800’s and it is considered improper to invite a lady into a gentleman’s bedroom. The real problem: you live in a studio apartment.
With many New Yorkers living in studio apartments, it would be hard even today if we lived with those societal norms! In a New York City studio, it can be hard to entertain with a queen sized bed sitting pretty right in the middle of the room. Indeed, some studios can feel like a bedroom with a stove, but there’s nothing wrong with that if you’re not planning on having banquets in your cute West Village apartment. For San Francisco inventor William Murphy, his one room apartment simply would not be acceptable for entertaining a young opera singer. He could not disobey the strict moral code that did not allow for young ladies to go unaccompanied into the bedroom of a gentleman. This courtship swung on the hinges of a bed that we all know very well today.
His solution: a new take on the fold-up bed that would turn his bedroom into a living room. He worked on a new design that not only created a living-space loophole that would lead to his marriage of that young opera singer, but this new design would revolutionize small living spaces around the world! His “pivot and counterbalanced” design, received patents in 1912 and continue to work in many different living situations until this day.
Although many people have mixed reactions to Murphy Beds when the first see them in new spaces, they were highly desirable back in the day, and indeed still are vital parts to many New York apartments. Murphy Beds often have functional cabinetry around the sides, and can also include custom lighting and woodwork. They can blend into spaces and make a cluttered room into a blank canvas with plenty of extra storage options. (Think pre-war apartments with little to no closet space).
In case you’re wondering, the original company started by William Murphy himself is still in business on Farmingdale, Long Island. For more info on finding or building a custom bed, or more history about the product itself, visit the website for The Murphy Bed Company, Inc.
Now for fun, take a look at some classic fun with a Murphy Bed. No, not that kind!