by Amanda Mears
Relatively speaking, California king beds did not hit the mattress scene until late in the game. In the 1960s, these gigantic beds were typically reserved for stars and athletes, but they have become a staple for tall sleepers and large bedrooms that need furniture to balance the space. To learn more about the creation and popularization of these oversized beds, check out the history of California king beds.
The first big bed. In 1590, the Great Bed of Ware was built for an inn located in Ware, England. Measuring in at 10 feet by 11 feet, this enormous bed could sleep 15 people at one time and became a famous relic that now resides in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. Historians believe that this behemoth bed was a tentative model for the first king-sized bed that would come centuries later.
West coast roots. In the early 1960s, a Los Angeles furniture company began making oversized beds for celebrity mansions. At a whopping 72 inches by 84 inches, this king bed became the largest on the market. It was dubbed the California king-sized bed and went to into mass production a few years later. While 4 inches smaller on the sides, the California king mattress added 4 inches to the length to make sleeping more comfortable for those with a taller stature.
Big beds gain footing. As popularity grew for luxuriously large mattresses, international mattress brands started producing their own versions of the California king bed. Europeans rolled out the Eastern king bed and the super king to compete with American brands that were mass producing extra-large king beds in the 70s and 80s.
Modern king beds. Today, the standard king bed measures 76 inches wide by 80 inches long and the California king bed remains at 72 inches by 84 inches. The super king, popular in England, is 72 inches by 78 inches, and the Eastern king is 76 inches by 80 inches. In addition to these California king offshoots, Select Comfort has released a grand king that measures 80 inches by 98 inches, making it the largest mattress currently on the market.