March 1, 2014 - Marshall Coyle

I am the Old Bed Guy.

Welcome to the Old Bed Guy. I am said old bed guy and have been involved in the bed and bedding industry for over 60 years, and life in general, for more than 84 years. I have seen it all. I constantly shop the web, read trade papers, visit a route of many local stores ranging foreign imports, sleazy chain sleep shops, department and furniture stores, and local factories. For the record, I am based in Manhattan, New York, (not Kansas) and have access to almost every kind of bed store and wholesale showroom. A very few of my old mattress buddies around the country help with out of town information If you are in the market for a bed, bedding, mattress, or bed linen, pay attention.

You are going to learn a lot. Questions encouraged. oldbedguy@gmail.com We have a lot of current information about Aireloom, Shifman, Kluft, Simmons, Sealy, Sleep Number,Charles P. Rogers, St. Regis, Kingsdown, Carpe Diem, Vi Spring, Hastens, Duxiana, Dux,  Stearns and Foster, Leggett and Platt, Serta, TempurPedic, Hotel Mattresses, Keetsa, Saatva, Pin and Needle, Casper, and on and on. I try to stay informed on most store private labels ,but since most stores private labels are models of inconsistency, the information is less valuable that for real brands. I am happy to personally answer your questions on anything about the mattress kr furniture business if you write me with your bed and mattress questions. If you want useful mattress advice, I request that you tell me enough about yourself and partner for me to zero in as closely as possible. You will find a survey at the end of this essay.    I carefully do my “virtual shopping”, of course at no charge,  you can answer all questions on this survey and email it to oldbedguy@gmail.com.   If two people share a bed, then two answers are required.  I will study your answers and compare it with a constantly updated list of good and excellent mattresses available within your desired price range.  If my virtual shopping can not find you the best possible mattress owing to a too-small budget, I will tell you about the runner-ups  and what compromises you will be making.

Anyone seriously shopping for a mattress owes it to him/herself to read the current Consumer Reports mattress owner’s reviews.  Available on the net and worth many times the insignificant  1X$ 6 month membership fee. It is a shame, but they are the only absolutely unbiased mattress reviewers on the net.  The most popular mattress and sleep blogs, especially those with forums, have a paid-for agenda to subtly or not so subtly steer you to a product or website that is invisibly paying for this service.  At least one major site takes generous kickbacks for sending shoppers to a small select group of  sites. “let the buyer beware” now that you know. I don’t say that the only two unbiased web services are The Old Bed Guy and Consumer Reports.  The oddly named “Sleep Like the Dead”, is neither here nor there.  They make a whole lot of money from mattress advertising, and commissions on accessory sales, but claim not to be influenced directly.  You still should visit and read the statistics for general ideas, not for definitive advice.  There may be others usable placed for unbiased information. Never the less, I have searched long and strong, and those that I have found in several years of searching  can be summed up with the condemnation; the advice is paid for by steering you to one or more particular products, subtly and otherwise.  I have lived in the New York metro area for more than eight decades and I often recommend Shifman and Charles P. Rogers, two local NY/NJ old time mattress makers not very well known across the country.  Rogers only sells factory direct on the internet and at two bricks and mortar stores.  The NYC store now is about 200 feet from a smaller one that they operated in 1855 and for decades thereafter. Shifman  sells only through a small cadre of fine furniture and department stores including Bloomingdales, which speaks to their fine quality.  New Yorkers in the know have relied on Shifman for about 117 years and Charles P. Rogers, America’s oldest mattress shop, for almost 160 years. All the way on the left coast, there are a couple of unusually good mattress makers, E.J. Kluft and San Francisco’s  McCroskey mattress.  Canada has the Marshall Ventilated Mattress company in Toronto.  There are a handful of smaller regional factories still turning out good mattresses, Connecticut has Gold Bond, a fine family company that still makes its own high grade felted cotton.  None of them are the best.  Each has its own strengths, but when I can include one or more in a virtual shopping report, I do.

Sealy and Stearns & Foster, both now made on the same assembly line, were  recently taken over by the Tempur foam company.   These brands rarely get a nod from me from me because of my personal sleeping experiences combined with the years and dollars I literally spent buying back these two brands of sagging mattresses. My store policy was to buy back any mattress regardless of a maker trying to avoid responsibility  with a too clever worthless warranty.    “Been there and did that”. When we were retailers we took home every ” new breakthrough” invention or construction to try personally.   If it taught me anything, I learned that the progress was usually verbal.  We did try to like Tempur-Pedic and came close. The first few minutes were always very good.  However, as the unventilated temperature sensitive foam accumulated and responded to our body heat and perceptibly slumped and hardened, we, and anyone else with real memory foam, will find yourself sleeping in a tub inches deep. I was only in my late sixties and even then found it annoying to climb out when I had to turn.  This was at least twenty years ago when they still used genuine Swedish (from Sweden) almost odorless foam. Today’s visco/memory foam(s) seem to be far more gassy than the early versions. If the gas wasn’t formaldehyde related, all it would be is an annoyance for a few months. Never the less, science seems to believe that formaldehyde is cause of liver cancer and OSHA is very concerned about factory ventilation.  No one knows if or how many molecules it takes to start a cancer and since there are so many other things to sleep on, why should you be a test animal?  When you see a memory foam mattress advertised at an unbelievable price, believe it, because of China.  Chinese foamers completely unregulated,  are shipping container loads of incredibly cheaply made, short-lived, and odiferous , and probably dangerous , Chinese incredibly cheap  versions of “memory foam”.  Our laws do not protect you, only your good judgment can. In my opinion, natural latex foam, foam that appeared around 1928, when I did, can make a wonderful mattress when combined with an appropriate steel spring .  There are some cheap mail or internet order latex mattresses being sold with highly exaggerated claims of their origin and quality.  Still better than any memory foam for health, but not for long-term comfort.  I know of nothing better than natural talalay latex to top off a good innerspring unit when you want the best comfort and support.  Caveat: like all foams, latex is made in a wide range of firmnesses and actual quality  and it is important to know the differences.    Memory foam has a lot of issues and not enough benefits in general for me to frequently  recommend it to a reader.  More elsewhere in the OldBedGuy blog. Before you ask me , “which is better, a one sided or two sided mattress”, the answer is “yes”.  I go into detail somewhere else in this blog.   The only Beautyrest that can compare to the high quality mattresses coming from the smaller factories mentioned above is their Black Asheville with latex.  (Macy’s).   Between these two duopolist  Tempur/Sealy/S&F  and Serta/Simmons, we now have only two companies, producing many very  similar chemical foam laden mattresses  under five labels and “own” 78% of all American sales.  The remaining 22% goes to a handful of stalwart and usually scrupulously honest well established firms, and increasing every day, too large a slice from brand new internet sites that are coining money from the public’s woeful ignorance.  I do my tiny bit to shed some light on these blatant con-artists, but I am one tired and old guy, so, “Trust, but verify”.

What I do not do is reveal my real identity as I am rather well known in the home furnishings industry and I do not wish to risk losing friends over my pointed opinions. So let the buyer beware. If you want advice as to how to stay married more than sixty-four years, make money, deal with all the bad news on every front page, I charge ten cents. Advice on dog raising is free. Medical advice questions should be limited to aches and pains. Thank you for reading my blog and please answer the not-too-personal questions above if you want a most useful reply.

Marshall Coyle

 

If you want me to help you with a virtual search for your ideal mattress, please take the below survey.
 If two people will be sharing the new mattress, please include information for both.
As demand for this free service is large, and I am just one little old cranky bed guy,
please allow two or three days for a carefully researched suggestion list.
I want to do right by you, and need  each and every question answered before I can proceed
1.     Age(s)
2.    Height(s)
3.     Weight(s)
4.    Any dust-mite or chemical allergies and/or discomfort from some memory foam’s reputed heat/sweating, and/or outgassing fumes.
5.     Occupation(s)
6.    Fairly regular physical Activities
7.    Side(s) What side you are usually on when you awake
8.    Does your partner often comment on your snoring (both)
9.    How many hours do each of you sleep in a typical week
10.  How many hours at work/home do you sit in front of a computer
11.   Describe bed pillows and number used for each.
12.  Any physical considerations such a unspecified aches or pains, or diagnosed medical condition(s) that may interfere with sleep
13.   Any 25# + Pets or children sharing your bed
14.  Please describe your mattress and the foundation or platform presently in use, and age if known, and important to me, reason for change.
15.  Mattress an/or foundation size desired.
16.   Any comments about mattresses you have store tested locally.
17.  Any negativel feeling about ordering an OBG  recommended mattress from the internet to benefit from factory direct pricing, or current discounts, when available.
18.  If you have a desired budget or a maximum, please note it.  I will tell you about the most suitable within your needs, or if it is not possible, your best possible compromises.
19.  Zip code or town for my records, and/or when you will not order on the Internet, to help me find locally available retail priced mattresses for you when available.
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Bed Buying Tips / Bed History / Bed Value / Bedding / Casper / Iron Beds / Mattresses / Old-Bed-Guy Old-Bed-Guy /

Comments

  • Ruth says:

    I have a relatively new (three years old) Shifman mattress called the DaVinci model (368 Coils, 12 1/2 gauge spring, two-sided pillow top with 1 1/2 ” convoluted natural latex foam) boxspring is 80 coils, 9 gauge). The store in NJ where I purchased the mattress is out of business. The mattress is beautifully made but is too firm. How can I soften the mattress? Will a high quality latex topper 2 or 3 inches mean too much latex on the bed? Thank you so much for any advice.

    • Marshall Coyle Marshall Coyle says:

      Dear Ruth,
      All Shifman mattresses tend to be too firm, always were, and maybe alway will. They exist to supply mattresses that are made as closely as possible to the mattresses they made 64 years ago when Mrs.Coyle and I got a Shifman Sanopedic extra firm set for a wedding gift. As hard as my desktop. Shifman still uses the same springs in the core but has added latex as filling material. The latex is very high quality and makes the mattress unusually long-lived compared to mattresses filled with wool, hair, or other crushable fibers. All this means that you probably will be keeping it for a while.

      You will be very happy with a natural talalay latex topper. Three inches should do the trick if you buy “soft”. I have found that Amazon, by far, has the best selection and also the best value on the legitimate product.
      Marshall Coyle

  • Douglas says:

    Good afternoon,
    I came across your internet posting while shopping for reviews for mattresses, specifically, St Regis manufactured by Charles Rogers.

    I would love to have your thoughts on this line. My sleeping habits usually result in sleeping my side due to back issues to help reduce back pain.
    One concern about the St Regis is the foam. From my research they hold heat and that could be an issue with me. Please give me your thoughts and Thank you in advance.
    D

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