1941-1965: Mattress components makers ‘integral’ to industry

Part VI of the second installment on the International Sleep Products Association’s first 100 years

Contributions from mattress suppliers strengthen value of NABM

mattress component supplier membership certificate in ISPA
(Above) To increase supplier involvement, the National Association of Bedding Manufacturers created an associate membership level in 1944. (Below) By 1965,
the bedding supply market had topped $311 million.

BY JULIE A. PALM

The relationship between bedding manufacturers and their suppliers isn’t all that different from the tie between mattresses and pillows: They operate independently, but function best when working together.

At its founding, the National Association of Bedding Manufacturers limited its membership to producers of finished sleep products, but NABM frequently interacted with suppliers in a host of ways—most notably through the Supplies Market, an exhibition of components and machinery first held in 1920. The precursor to today’s ISPA EXPO, the Supplies Market was long a vital part of the association’s annual convention.

mattress component market archival pie chartIn 1938, suppliers came together to create a separate organization, the Bedding Supply Club (which was sanctioned by NABM but not officially a part of it), and, by 1953, a record 175 companies participated in its activities. But the club’s purpose was limited: promoting and sponsoring entertainment at NABM conventions. “Attendance at the banquets has been as high as 1,600 and the club is credited with having done an excellent job over the years,” the editors of Bedding magazine wrote in a January 1957 article announcing that the club had voted to disband.

As enjoyable as an entertaining evening can be, the association had recognized more than a decade earlier the more significant contributions suppliers were making to the industry, particularly during World War II when many generously contributed to NABM’s War Emergency Fund. In 1944, NABM created an associate membership level and associate member committees as a way for suppliers to be more involved in association activities. By disbanding the Bedding Supply Club, all supplier activity was unified under the associate member program.

“The bedding supplier has come to be an integral part of the bedding industry, cooperating with manufacturers to see that they obtain what they need, when they need it, in making better sleep equipment for the consumer,” Bedding editors wrote in June 1945. “In fact, bedding manufacturers can thank their suppliers for developing many items which have resulted in increased production, improved manufacturing operations that save both time and money, and more scientific, attracting bedding having greater consumer appeal.”✦ 


Read all seven parts of this month’s special ISPA 1941-1965 centennial section:
Part I – A time of war, a time for peace
Part II – Promoting better sleep
Part III – Mattress makers introduce ‘king’ and ‘queen’ sizes
Part IV – Mattress industry introduces the sofa bed
Part V – NABM introduces magazine exclusively for bedding retailers
Part VI – Mattress components makers ‘integral’ to industry
Part VII – ‘Do Not Remove This Tag Under Penalty of Law’