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Most people are not familiar with the name Charles Prior Hall but millions of them have slept on his invention – the waterbed.

Waterbed - The Bad Fads MuseumIn 1968, Charles Prior Hall, a furniture designer in California decided to create the world’s most comfortable chair. Taking his cue from the very popular bean bag chairs of the time, Hall filled a large inflatable vinyl bag with 300 pounds of liquid corn starch and titled his creation “the Incredible Creeping Chair.”

Unfortunately, he found that when he sat in it, he tended to sink so far into the chair that he felt he was being swallowed by it. He next tried to replace the liquid starch with Jell-O ™ which soon became lumpy and uncomfortable. Finally he abandoned his idea to develop a chair and filled a rectangular piece of vinyl with water and called his creation “the water bed” (so-named after the water-filled mattresses used for over 100 years for invalids.) For years, you could find waterbeds everywhere, and in hotels and apartments for rent, they were all the designer rage.

Hall loved his creation but found that when the water cooled, the mattress became ice-cold and clammy. He therefore set out to develop accessories for the bed, including a heater, a liner and a patch kit.