What everyone knows as the Murphy bed, also called a wall bed, pull down bed, or fold-down bed, had a precursor invented by a black woman in 1885.
Called the cabinet bed, it was invented by Sarah E. Goode, who became the first African American woman in the United States to get a patent on this day in 1885.
Born into slavery in 1805, Goode was inspired by her customer’s need for space and invented furniture that could be used as a bed at night and a desk during the day, thus maximising space.
Thanks to her marriage to a carpenter called Archibald Goode, she had the skills and knowledge of the furniture business, which she was successfully running at the time.
She was able to achieve a balance of the weight to ensure the bed could be lifted, folded and unfolded without breaking apart. She included supplementary support to the bed’s centre when it was unfolded.
Not much is known about Goode, who died in 1905.