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Some Historical Facts about Cotton

The original term futon (derived from the Orient hundreds of years ago) means cotton mattress. Basic and natural in its initial design, futons are dual purpose and versatile (sofa by day; bed by night), perfect for the health conscious alternative sleep individuals.

Pictured is a 14" X 18" Bail of King Cotton.  It's symbolic of the Old South, and is woven through the entire fabric of U.S. History.  From the first cultivation attempts by Virginia settlers in 1607 to the all cotton biologica isolation suit worn by the Apollo 11 astronauts, cotton has been an integral part of the U.S. economy. 

George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton among others understood the importance of cotton as a major commercial crop.  Even as Minutemen faced British Redcoats at Concord.  South Carolina and Virginia were appealing to citizens to grow more cotton.

1793 was a milestone year for cotton.  Samuel Stater, defying British law and in disguise, came to the U.S. and by year's end had established this nation's first successful cotton yarn mill.  Near Savannah, Georgia that same year Eli Whitney watched as it took ten hours by hand to remove the seed from one pound of cotton fiber.  In less than ten days he had invented his cotton gin (short for engine) which could separate 50 pounds of seed from fiber in one day.

The floodgates were open for cotton production in the South and industrial expansion in New England.  South Carolina and Georgia quickly became the leaders in cotton production accounting for more than half of the nation's crop in 1821.  By 1860 the Southern states accounted for two-thirds of the world's total supply of cotton and were financing 60% of the total U.S. expenditure for imports of manufactured goods.

The huge cotton plantation of the Old South that stretched from the Carolinas to Louisiana are gone, but the impact of cotton on American Life is no less important today than 100 years ago.

This St. Charles bale is produced in the same manner as the original 500 pound bales.  Wrapped in coffee bean burlap, it is exact in detail, shape and content to it's larger counterpart.

In Arizona, and other parts of the Southwest, the futon, was known as a Bed Sack.  It was simply a large sack of cotton, which was beat down flat, which people slept on.  A large cotton gin owner in Arizona told us that his great grandfather had a business where he would pick up bed sacks in his horse and buggy, that were flattened, cut the covering, and re-fluff the cotton fiber, then put it back in the sack, sew it shut, and beat it down, and deliver it back to the owner.

Futon Mattresses have come a long way.  There are still great quality cotton, or cotton and foam futon mattresses, which are highly compressed initially, which hold up very well, and don't tend to compress further, or develop dips and sags.  Unfortunately, there are still those that are made with very loosely filled cotton, which don't hold up very well, but are very inexpensive.

The higher tech futon mattresses are filled with mostly foam and polyester, and very little, or no cotton at all.  They are made with many different types and densities of foam, to create different levels of firmness or softness.  They rival, or are more comfortable, and last longer than some of the most expensive conventional mattresses.


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