Simmons- The Simmons Mattress company was started by Zalmon G Simmons. Simmons built his first factory in Kenosha, Wisconsin in 1870, making it one of the oldest in the United States. The Simmons factory originally manufactured wooden insulators and cheese boxes. In 1876 Simmons changed the mattress industry with his decision to mass produce a woven wire mattress. Woven wire mattresses had been in use during the 19th century and were essentially a wire mattress that had a surface made of interlocking (woven) wires upon which the sleeper would lay. This created a mesh-like surface which provided support.
The impact of mass producing the mattress lay in the fact that the cost to produce the mattress, and ultimately what the general public would pay, dropped dramatically. Thus allowing a much larger portion of the public to have access to the product.
The Simmons company was working on a number of things throughout the 1880’s and as a result, by the 1889, they had been able to reduce the price of a woven wire mattress from about $12.00 to around 95 cents- via the efficiencies of mass production. Simmons had also introduced a spiral coil spring for the woven mattresses.
In 1900, a Simmons engineer, James Marshall introduced a hand made coil spring that provided another leap forward in mattress comfort technology. Due to the cost of producing the hand made coils, they were typically found on mattresses in affordable only to wealthy consumers and luxury hotels and cruise liners.
Simmons introduced the Wall-A-Bed bedding product in 1912, the predecessor to the well known Murphy Bed that Simmons would later produce for the Murphy Company.
Much happened at the Simons Corporation in the ensuing years. Simmons launched it’s first national advertising campaign via the Saturday Evening Post in 1916. In 1918, after World War I, Simmons introduced the cotton felt mattress, bringing a new level of comfort to sleepers. By 1919, Simmons had acquired or built manufacturing plants across the United States and Canada with facilities in cities like Seattle, San Francisco, Toronto and Vancouver to name a few.
In 1925, Simmons’ top engineer, John Franklin Gail, designed a machine that would coil wire and insert it into fabric sleeves quickly and independently. Thus the introduction of Gail’s Pocketed Coil Spring Machine generated the unique independent Pocketed Coil springs that would form the basis for Simmons Beautyrest Mattress. The Beautyrest Mattress debuted in 1925 at a cost of $39.50, making it the first Innerspring Mattress affordable for the general buying public and arguably their most well known product ever. Simmons also initiated consumer focused sleep studies in 1925, in an effort to gain information and insight to peoples sleeping habits.
In 1927, prior to being the first lady, Eleanor Roosevelt was featured in print advertising for the Simmons Beautyrest mattress line, and she continued to be an advocate the Simmons Beautyrest mattress through her radio show into the 1930’s. During this time Simmnon was developing quite a following and used testimonials from Henry Ford, H. G. Wells, Thomas Edison, Guglielmo Marconi and George Bernard Shaw in it’s advertising.
Simmons introduced a hide-a-way bed ‘Studio Couch’ in 1930 as the depression was forcing families to move in with each other in tighter spaces. The Studio Couch was an attractive couch by day and a comfortable bed in the evening. It is these types of innovation and forethought that has kept Simmons moving forward and a top mattress producer throughout its history.
In 1957 Simmons created its National Technological Center in Munster, Indiana. A highly sophisticated engineering laboratory that was committed to the development of products, which would help consumers get a better nights sleep. A year later Simmons would be the first mattress company to introduce the King and Queen size mattresses.
The mid 90’s saw another leap forward as Simmons launched the Simmons BackCare mattress, designed to help keep proper spinal alignment, providing the sleeper with the proper support and comfort in all five ‘zones’ of the body (Head, Lumbar, Hip, Thigh, Lower Legs). Also in 1995, the first advertisements featuring the dropped bowling ball appeared. These Ads dramatically illustrates how the movement f one person on the mattress is less likely to disturb their partner on a Simmons Beautyrest bed. That same year, the newest version of the Simmons Institute for Technology and Education opened its doors.
Simmons continued its focus on research by partnering with sleep experts like Dr James Maas and Dr. James Wellman to further sleep research. Simmons also became the official bedding sponsor of the Summer Olympics that year in Atlanta, Georgia.
During the first decade of the new millennium, Simmons has been hard at work producing even more advances and options for the world’s sleepers. In 2000 Simmons celebrated the 75th anniversary of the Beautyrest mattress. In 2001, Simmons introduced the new Olympic Queen size mattress, a full 6 inches larger and thus providing 10% more sleeping space than a traditional Queen, but designed to fit on the same frame. In 2004 Simmons rolled out the Pocketed Cable Coil design. The Pocketed Cable Coil springs, alternated with their basic Pocketed Coil springs result in a mattress that yields a luxuriously undisturbed sleep with a higher Motion Separation index and greater durability. Simmons also introduced its HealthSmart bed, the best mattress for a clean and healthy environment. The user can wash away stains, germs, bacteria, dust mites, odors, and perspiration.
Today Simmons has 18 manufacturing plants in the US and Puerto Rico, as well as 23 international licensees and sub licensees. Simmons continues to push the envelope in research, products and comfort through its Better Sleep Through Science philosophy. Simmons believes the mattress you sleep on can improve the quality of your life through more restful sleep. Newer Simmons mattress lines include the BeautySleep line, ComforPedic collection and the Simmons Natural Care collection.