History of the Pillow

There are many everyday objects that we take for granted and the pillow is probably one of them so let’s take a look at the history of the pillow. The use of pillows can be traced back thousands of years to the ancient civilization of Mesopotamia the area where Iraq is today. Archaeologists have discovered what we would call hard pillows, that is pillows usually made of stone. Many other civilizations also used hard pillows. The Chinese believed that soft pillows stole energy while you sleep.

For over 1000 years they made pillows from wood, bronze, bamboo and porcelain. They also liked to decorate their pillows and today are sought after by collectors. Japanese Geisha used a hard pillow in order not to mess up their hair. Today across Africa you can find a variety of wooden pillows and some like to collect these. You can often find them for sale at collectors and antiques fairs. The Greeks and Romans preferred softer substances for pillows and used materials like reed, straw and feathered down.

Pillows in the Middle Ages

During the middle ages in Europe many people did not use a pillow. Soft pillows became a status symbol. King Henry VIII banned the use of soft pillows with the exception of use by pregnant women. By the 16th Century the use of pillows had become increasingly commonplace. The stuffing of pillows had to be changed regularly as it would become mouldy or suffer from insect or vermin infestation.

Alpacas as Pets

Pillows in Modern Times

Today there is a huge variety of pillow available. There are different materials used for the outer cover such as cotton or polyester. The pillows filling material provides the overall support of the pillow and establishes the comfort level. The filling can be natural such as down, feather, buckwheat, cotton, alpaca wool or sheep wool. Because some people are allergic to feather and down a range of synthetic materials is also used such as foam, latex and polyester.

There is a huge variety of choice and we all have different views on how soft our pillow should be. The use of alpaca wool is a good choice as the qualities of alpaca wool gives excellent temperature control and is also ideal for allergen sufferers. At Penrose, our pillows contain 100% natural alpaca fibre and are handmade to the highest standards. Don’t take your pillow for granted. It has a long history of development and you spend a large part of your life with it.

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