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History of the Pillow



It can sometimes be hard finding the perfect pillow. But you should thank your lucky stars that you don’t have to sleep on the pillows that were used throughout history. These ancient pillows had to be so uncomfortable. I don’t know how anyone could have possibly slept on them.


The history of the pillow is strange. Today we think of pillows as being soft support for our heads while we sleep, padding to help prop us up, or for extra lumbar support. Pillows didn’t begin as a comfort element. They were designed for different reasons altogether.


It is believed that pillows were invented around 7000 BC, in Mesopotamia, today knows as Iraq. These pillows were made from stone and were used by the wealthy to keep insects from crawling into their nose, eyes and ears.




In Egypt, your head was cherished due to the fact that it was the seat of your spiritual life. They made their pillows from stone, wood, marble, ivory and ceramic. These pillows were decorated with images of their gods, and this was believed to help keep evil spirits away.


The Chinese also had hard pillows that were often made out of stone, bronze, bamboo, wood and porcelain, and jade. These pillows were ornately decorated with pictures of plants, animals and people. They believed that the type of material that was used had medicinal benefits to the user. It was widely believed that jade pillows helped to increase intelligence. Soft pillows were available they were not widely used because they robbed the energy from the user while they were sleeping.


The Japanese used hard pillows to keep their necks raised off the ground. By using these pillows their hair was able to remain pristine for several days.


Greeks and Romans didn’t use hard pillows. They wanted comfort. They had the idea to stuff their pillows with straw, cotton and reeds. The wealthy even used downy feathers.


During the Middle Ages having a pillow was a sign of wealth. King Henry VIII eventually banned the use of pillows. The only ones that were allowed to use pillows were the King and pregnant women. The filling in these pillows had to be changed out frequently due to mold.




During the Industrial Revolution, pillows became mainstream and almost everyone had a pillow to rest upon. They became cheaper and were able to be mass produced.


During the Victorian Era, pillows became more of a décor item and were used on chairs and couches.


Today we have many types of pillows to choose from. Thankfully they are soft and comfortable, and we don’t have to sleep with our heads resting on cold hard stone.




Accent your home with custom pillows from Wilfreda Designs and be the envy of your family and friends. We have a large variety of designs to choose from. The pillows are made from high-quality 100% polyester or 100% cotton fabric. These accent pillows provide beautiful designs for your home! They are available in 16” x 16”, 20” x 20”, 13” x 21” and 16" diameter (flat) 14" (stuffed) round pillows.



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