The Story Of Murphy Beds & The Guy Who Invented Them

The Story Of Murphy Beds & The Guy Who Invented ThemMurphy beds, known commonly as fold down, pull down or wall beds, are versatile pieces of furniture having a sleeping space that can be folded and stored up inside a closet vertically. They are perfect additions for places with less floor area, like dorm rooms, mobile homes, cabins of cruise ships and studio apartments. Despite of their popularity, however, very few people know about the guy who invented Murphy beds, or the first of their kind, to be exact. His name was William Lawrence Murphy and he lived in California.

Although his father was a gold seeking forty niner, life was not very easy for William, who had to work a string of jobs in California prior to coming up with his remarkable invention. Some of his occupations included driving a stagecoach, breaking in horses, serving as a sheriff in a small town, and so on. In the beginning of the 20th century, he moved to San Francisco and started living in a small single-room apartment. Some experts say it was lack of floor space within his rented shelter that inspired him to create his space-saving bed. However, others believe that there was also something else that motivated him greatly.

According to the descendants of Murphy, William was actually dating a certain a woman at that time and had invited her to his tiny apartment. The moral standards during that period considered it unsuitable to allow a woman inside his bedroom, which was the only room he had. Determined to spend some quality with the woman at his home, William used the concept of folding bed by Leonard Bailey and changed its folding point to create the first ever Murphy bed, thus transforming his bedroom into a living room.

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It is said that William got married to the same woman later on and took a loan from her dad to have his invention patented as well as start his own business. The company established by William exists to this today and manufactures its signature products, even after almost a century. Demand for Murphy beds spiked incredibly during the 1900s.

At present, Murphy beds are sold by many reputed companies throughout Canada and North America. Besides the bedding part, these modern units come with various other utilitarian features such as cabinets, mirrors, shelving, wardrobe, etc. They can also be used in many different places, including condos, hotels, offices and of course, homes.



  1. When I was a kid (roughly one or two hundred years ago), Murphy bed was a punchline that didn’t need a buildup. We thought they were hysterical and were convinced that they might fold up in the middle of the night, tucking the sleeper away with the bed.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I really enjoy the story! Murphy beds are really a smart idea. It makes great use of space. And even if you have a lot of space, it’s a great way to have a bed and be able to hide it away later when not needed (for guests).

    Liked by 1 person

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