Here at Fishpools, we take pride in our history – how the little shop in Waltham Cross grew into the largest quality furniture store in south-east England. But we’re not only passionate about celebrating our own story: our In the Spotlight series features the heritage of other iconic brands and how they evolved.
Today we’re telling the story of Vispring, one of the most prestigious bed brands on the market. For over 100 years, Vispring beds have been associated with luxury, craftsmanship, and innovation.
Their story starts in 1899, the same year Ernest Fishpool borrows £85 to open his first shop. James Marshall, a British engineer living abroad in Canada. His wife suddenly falls ill and confined to bedrest. The standard mattress of the time, usually made of straw, feathers or old rags, is not the most comfortable – or the cleanest – place for a sick person to rest. So Marshall begins his quest to make a more comfortable, supportive, hygienic bed for her to sleep on.
He observes the way seats and divans have a slight bounce to them, as they shift to accommodate the sitter’s weight. He applies the same theory to his problem and using coiled springs, unbleached muslin, and horsehair, he fashions the first mattress with individually-wrapped pocket springs. (Fun fact: a pocket spring is also known as a Marshall coil, after his invention.)
Back in England, entrepreneurs John Nolon and Frederick James are taken with his invention and try to persuade local manufacturers to sell the Marshall mattress. However, their efforts were met with little success, and in the end, they decide to produce the pocket spring mattress themselves. And with that, the Marshall Sanitary Mattress Company is born in London in 1901 and with it, the start of Vispring’s history.
Fast forward ten years to 1911: The Marshall Sanitary Mattress Company undergoes a rebranding and becomes Vispring. The company starts to quickly gain popularity (especially with high-end hotels) and a year later, Vispring beds are fitted out in The Titanic’s 39 suites and 350 first-class cabins.
Ever since, they have been setting the standard for bed comfort and luxury, expanding their markets across the globe. In 1932, they invented the world’s first pocket-sprung divan, The Vibase, perfecting the most comfortable sleep. In 1969 they moved their operations to Plymouth, where they still hand make each mattress and in 2012, they were awarded the Queen’s Award for Enterprise for their outstanding growth and craftsmanship.
Although Vispring beds are now stocked in over 30 countries, they have remained true to Marshall’s original vision of crafting the best possible mattress for the most comfortable night’s sleep.