We are used to seeing married couples in old TV shows and movies sleeping in twin beds. You will be forgiven if you thought that was only because of the Hays Code and network censorship. Ricky and Lucy and Rob and Laura each had their own bed. But sleeping in twin beds was encouraged for married couples for about a hundred years!
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In her new book, A Cultural History of Twin Beds, Hinds details how doctors warned of the dire consequences of bed-sharing. In 1861, doctor, minister and health campaigner William Whitty Hall’s book Sleep: Or the Hygiene of the Night, advised that each sleeper “should have a single bed in a large, clean, light room, so as to pass all the hours of sleep in a pure fresh air, and that those who fail in this, will in the end fail in health and strength of limb and brain, and will die while yet their days are not all told”.
In the 1880s, a series of articles by Dr Benjamin Ward Richardson warned of the risks of inhaling a bedfellow’s germs: “I cannot do better than commence what I have to say concerning beds and bedding by protesting against the double bed. The system of having beds in which two persons can sleep is always, to some extent, unhealthy.”
However, the spread of marital twin beds was slow, and peaked in the 1930s. Read about the rise and fall of twin beds for married couples at the Guardian. -via Damn Interesting