Walking home after dark, I meandered through Porter square along White street, and there it was, a store I hadn’t noticed before. It was closed, with no visible signage, but brightly lit within. Some kind of furniture store with lots of shelving, closet organizers…
…and if I’m not mistaken, a Murphy Bed! A what, you ask? Wikipedia explains it all:
A Murphy Bed or Wallbed is a bed that flips up at the head end for storage inside a closet. … William L. Murphy applied for a patent for the Murphy bed on April 1, 1916 and was granted Design Patent D49,273 on June 27, 1916. Murphy started the Murphy Wall Bed Company and began production in San Francisco. In January 1990, the company changed its name to the “Murphy Bed Co. Inc.”
As you may know, I have a pretty small apartment, so this sort of gizmo appeals to me. And ya gotta love a patented bed. Especially one with built-in comedy value. Again, from Wikipedia. And I’m pretty sure there’s a good Murphy bed accident in one of the Pink Panther movies, too.
These beds make appearances in movies as they lend themselves to slapstick humor in which people are trapped when the bed folds into the upright position, carrying the person on the bed inside. For example, in Stanley Kramer’s famous comedy It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, the smarmy Otto Meyer (Phil Silvers) gets thrown from the fire truck ladder, through a window and onto a Murphy bed, which prompty retracts into the wall. In Mel Brooks’ Silent Movie, a hotel’s neon sign advertises “Murphy Beds — Charming to the Unsophisticated”. Modern murphy beds utilize a counterbalance system making it near impossible to get trapped.
I was kinda looking forward to getting trapped in there. It’s a killer excuse for being late to work. But the Murphy bed story gets better, there’s trademark abandonment, the downside of too successful a brand name:
In 1989, an appellate court held that the term “Murphy bed” is no longer entitled to trademark cover because a substantial majority of the public perceive the term as a generic term for a bed that folds into a wall rather than the specific model made by the Murphy Bed Co.
So what is this store called and what’s the deal with the Murphy bed in the window? Well, I searched around and found not one but three websites for this shop. I’ll share one called Closet Solutions, which now that I type it, is actually visible in the photo above. Duh. Will have to check this place out sometime when they’re open.