Murphy Bed: The Bed Behind a Closet, and the Love Story Behind It

Wall bed, fold-down bed, pull-down bed—whatever you call it, Murphy bed is the best bet when it comes down to situations where floor space is at a premium. This type of bed is hinged at one end so it can be folded up and stored vertically against a wall. While Murphy beds truly save square footage and make it easier to make your bed in the morning (a.k.a. tuck-everything-away), these beds are first made out of moral codes and (would you believe it?)… love.

The Man Behind the Bed Behind A Closet

William Lawrence Murphy, the man behind the Murphy bed, began his work with the help of a blacksmith. The blacksmith helped him mount a mechanism that would flip a metal bed frame with a full-sized mattress and hide it in a closet during the day, when it’s not in use.

According to American history, William Lawrence Murphy made this type of bed because he wanted to entertain visitors, particularly the opera singer he was courting. However, he only had a studio apartment in San Francisco, and his bed took a huge chunk of his space.

The Love Story Behind The Murphy Bed

While one might think that Murphy created the contraption because he wanted to maximize space, it was actually wasn’t the reason. Courting customs then frowns upon ladies who enter men’s bedrooms, so Murphy couldn’t invite his beloved inside his apartment. Hence, out of necessity—and Murphy’s romantic feelings—born the go-to space-saver of tiny condo dwellers.

Murphy experimented on different designs, and eventually developed a picot mounted on a hinge inside the closet door. By 1911, Murphy got his work, “Murphy In-A-Dor Bed” patented after loaning from his father. Eventually, the beds are manufactured and sold by Simmons Company through a contract he made with them. Later on, Murphy built his own factories, which continue to make the Murphy beds until today.

The beds were in demand in the 1900s when the American economy focused on manufacturing, hyping up urban living, but with smaller-sized dwellings. The Murphy bed was the design solution for the shrinking living spaces.

As for Murphy, he got his patent and he eventually married the opera singer.

X Close