Do you think you have it rough with your current mattress? If so, maybe you’d want to trade your mattress with what the soldiers at Fort Mackinac on Mackinac Island, Mich., were issued in the late 1800’s.
Well, maybe you’d want to think twice about making that trade.
The standard issue mattress was 78″ x 32″ x 3.5″. It was covered in a narrow stripe blue and white ticking in a herring-bone or twill weave. And it was stuffed with a filling of good cotton linters (these are the shorter fibers left on the cotton seed after the longer cotton fibers are removed by passing through a cotton gin), at a minimum of 20 pounds. And the mattress was held together with at least 28 leather tufts. Such luxury!
These mattresses were placed upon a standardized bunk, using wrought iron trestles at the head and the foot of the bunk. Suspended between the two trestles were 4 wood planks, each 6″ in width. This bunk kept the soldiers off of the ground, but they provided nothing in the way of added comfort.
Pillows were made of the same ticking as the mattresses, and were also stuffed with the same filling of good cotton linters, and were a minimum of 3 pounds. Dimensions were similar to today’s current queen pillows, at 30″ x 17″.
So, no matter how much you hate your current mattress, chance are it contains a level of comfort about which soldiers from a little over 100 year ago could have only dreamed.
(All of these specifications were adopted March 28, 1885, from the War Department, Quartermaster General’s Office.)