The feather pillows you lay your head on when you drift off to dream at night, likely don’t fill your imagination during the waking hours. After all, a pillow is just a pillow, right? In these modern times we live in, there are many common items that we take for granted.
As we have always rested our heads on soft feather pillows when we go to sleep at night, most of us never even ponder thoughts of a time when such luxuries were not common place. Yet there was a time when people rested their heads on hard objects, or nothing at all when they retired for the evening. As the concept of resting our heads on an object when we go to sleep did gain popularity in certain cultures, it wasn’t every common person who had the privilege of doing so. In fact, there was a point in history when the amount of pillows one owned, or had on their bed was a symbol of their wealth. Even during these times, pillows were not necessarily soft feather pillows. Often pillows would be made of wood or even stone. In Africa people would carve ornate wooden pillows for use, and in other regions it was common for pillows to be made of bronze or porcelain. Soft feather pillows were employed early on in some parts of the world, as it is though the ancient Greeks used straw and sometimes down feathers in their pillows. This was not the case everywhere though. It is rumored that during the middle ages in what is now England, King Henry the VIII did not allow feather pillows to be used by any of his subjects except women who were with child.
Feather Pillows: In our time
It is probable that many of us would not be able to sleep very well at night, if we were forced to sleep without a soft feather pillow. It is common to see people carrying pillows with them when they travel on trains or air planes also. Of course usually people are not lugging large pillows like you would keep on their bed with them. The pillows that people travel with are often specifically designed for such an application. They sometimes are shaped like a horse shoe, open on one end. They are also much firmer than a feather pillow you would sleep on. These travel pillows are designed to support your head and neck when you are sitting in an upright position, as you often do when you travel. Typically these travel pillows are constructed from a soft felt material on the outside, while the inside is often a synthetic material that is sometimes called memory foam. It is a special foam that easily molds to the shape that best supports your head and neck, and quickly resumes its former shape when not in use. In today’s world all types of pillows are used for all types of situations. From feather pillows for sleeping to travel pillows made of space age memory foam, pillows have evolved throughout history in fascinating ways.