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The first document featuring a folding bed concept dates back to 1895 by Sears and Roebuck. It is also rumoured that Thomas Jefferson and Paul Revere also experimented with the idea.

The Murphy Bed was named after William Lawrence Murphy. He was the first person to apply for a patent for the invention in the early 1900’s. His company was founded within the same year, which produced his invention for sale to the general public.

Murphy lived in a one-room apartment in San Francisco. He had grown fond of a young opera singer, but being a gentleman, woman were not permitted into a gentleman’s bedroom. Using his ingenuity and the help of a local blacksmith Murphy created an invention to make the most out of the situation. The creation of the Murphy bed allowed him to stow away the bed within a closet, transforming his bedroom into a parlour. In the early 1900’s the couple married.

In 1989, the United States supreme court judged that the term “Murphy Bed” fell within public use, which unfortunately meant that William L. Murphy lost the trademark protection of the term “Murphy Bed”. The term is now defined as a “Bed that folds into a closet or up against the wall”. This court decision unleashed many competitors to start producing Murphy Beds which are also marketed as tilting beds, folding beds and hide away beds.


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