The History of Beds in Boxes

Almost all U.S. bedding manufacturers offer at least one boxed bed option. While this isn’t surprising now, the idea seemed quite radical nearly twenty years ago, when the first Bed-in-a-Box® prototype was developed. Back in 2004, a machine builder named Bill Bradley in Johnson City, Tennessee, wanted to engineer a queen-size mattress that would compress into a box that companies like FedEx® and UPS® would accept. Bradley had the machinery know-how to make it happen, but he needed to collaborate with a foam producer and reached out to NCFI in nearby Mount Airy, North Carolina, for assistance. Chris Bradley — no relation — of NCFI (one of our current and original U.S. foam producers to certify foams through the CertiPUR-US® program) remembers taking that phone call. “Bill hadn’t had any luck getting other foam producers to bite and it sounded pretty wild and crazy, but I figured I’d drive down to Johnson City and check out what he was doing for myself.” That drive on a longshot to Tennessee turned out to be the beginning of a decades-long productive relationship and the origins of the shipping mattresses in boxes direct to consumer concept that became an industry-wide phenomenon. In [...]