The Magic Mattress of Royal Foam Sponge

Untitled by Rufus W. Holsinger (undated). Mattress window display. (Holsinger Studio Collection, Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library, University of Virginia)
UPDATE: Although the photograph is attributed to Rufus Holsinger, it’s likely the product of his son Ralph. Rufus died in 1930, and just eyeballing the photograph, it looks later than that. But our associate editor, Caitlin Newman, did more than merely eyeball. She fell down a “nerdhole,” as she put it, zooming in on the image and finding reference in one of the panels to the DC-4 aircraft:

I think the mention of “the new Douglas DC4 forty-two passenger planes” in the display text is the clincher. According to the Boeing website, the DC-4E was developed in 1938, and the DC-4 had its first flight in 1942. It was put into commercial service in 1946.
A Google book search for “douglas dc-4” “royal foam sponge” reveals volume 34 of Time (only snippet view, sadly) with text identical to that in the mattress display. It’s from 1939.

So I think it’s safe to say that this photograph was taken by Ralph and dates to the late 1930s or early 1940s. Thanks, Caitlin!
Below the jump, find an advertisement for Royal Foam Sponge mattresses from the Galveston Daily News (July 16, 1939) boasting that the mattress is “weight-tested by Douglas.” And for no extra charge, check out an image of an actual Douglas DC-4.



2 thoughts

  1. Wow! That’s the first picture of a vintage bed that I’ve seen. It’s very amusing to note that mattresses used to cost $49.50…You can see how inflation has changed from 1930 to now. Thank you for these photos; they’re very informative and I’m happy you shared it for us to see.

  2. The price of the tuck mattress is higher than any other types of mattress in the current market place.The layers of the inner side makes this mattress different than the traditional mattress.that’s why it is increasing day by day for it’s composition and durability.


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