Minneapolis homeowner gets custom mattress for Civil War-era bed
There are few things in a home more personal than a bed. And, there are companies that take it a step further by making custom mattresses to suit individual needs, styles and furniture.
Angie’s List member Steve Cross needed a mattress to fit a bed frame that’s been passed down through his family for five generations. “The bed dates from the Civil War era and originally had a hay and feather mattress,” Cross says. “The bed was only 5 and a half feet long, so no standard mattresses would fit.”
Jon Quale, vice president of Original Mattress Factory in Maplewood, says while his company can make almost any size or shape of mattress, most of his clients, like Cross, are looking for a mattress to fit an antique bed.
“There weren’t standard sizes more than 100 years ago,” Quale says. “A mattress was basically a bag filled with cotton, feathers, hay or horse hair.”
Owning a custom mattress also means the bedding must be custom made, or buying sheets one size larger and having them altered.
Because of this, most antique bed frames weren’t made square. To ensure the best fit, Quale recommends properly measuring the length and width of the bed frame several times before ordering the mattress — something Cross made sure to do.
“We wanted to get the dimensions exactly right,” Cross says. “The new mattress fits like a glove.”
Antique beds aren’t the only reasons people need a special mattress size. Quale says they often receive requests from owners of boats and RVs. “Because of the bow, boat owners may need a mattress that starts at 7 feet and narrows down to 2,” Quale says.
Hinged mattresses that allow the bed to be folded are also in demand, since boats and campers tend to have narrow walkways and smaller doorways.
The unusual shapes and sizes contribute to the varying cost of custom mattresses, which can be made in approximately three days. Quale says he quotes each job individually after receiving the measurements and the type of mattress and padding is chosen.
Cross spent $800 on his custom mattress and box springs, and felt it was a reasonable price to keep a piece of his family history in use. In a previous life, the bed belonged to his great-grandfather, George Washington Stevens — who served in the infantry and calvary during the Civil War. In September, the bed and mattress made a cross-country move to Seattle with Cross’s daughter, Amanda. Quale says stories like the Cross’ add color to his job.
“I always enjoy making mattresses for antiques,” Quale says. “You get to hear some really interesting stories and see some extremely beautiful beds.”