Box Springs

box spring (USM)

Box Spring (from US-Mattress)

Box Springs

A box spring is a sturdy frame–usually wood–on which springs are mounted. The frame and springs are covered in cloth, usually with padding on the top and a base pad on the bottom. According to the Merriam-Webster online dictionary, the first known use of the term “box spring” was in 1865.[1] The term box spring is sometimes alternatively spelled box-spring. Making it one word, boxspring, is generally not acceptable.

Traditionally, the springs are metal. They may be coils or corrugated spring wires (repeated “S” curves). The purpose of a box spring is twofold: provide sturdy, resilient support for the mattress, and elevate the mattress to a convenient height. The box spring has some give, making it more resilient than the floor. This way it absorbs some of the shock when someone bounces into bed (or on the bed). This extends the life of the mattress. It also protects the floor.

There are a number of ways of attaching/inserting the springs in a box spring. For example, some companies, like Shifman, tie them eight ways. Some are just stapled to the frame and clipped to an upper grid. The amount of handwork going into making a box spring partially determines its cost. Also factoring into the cost are the gauge of the spring wire and the metal used, as well as materials for the cover and padding.


Hand-tying box spring coils (Shifman Mattress Company)

It is also easier for most people to get into bed when the sleeping surface is several inches off the floor. The standard height of a box spring is 8 to 9 inches. However, with higher mattresses now in the market, low profile box springs and foundations of 4 to 5½ inches are available.

Once the only foundation other than a bed frame, a box spring is now only one of the foundations available to mattress customers. Other foundations are platforms, wood slats, and adjustable beds. However, most retailers list foundations other than adjustable beds as box springs.

A European wood slat foundation can be legitimately considered a box spring. Instead of metal, the springs are slats of highly resilient wood. With the development of wooden coils, these may someday be found in box springs. Foundations filled with foam are called box springs by some firms.

Most manufacturers of mattresses make their own box springs. The box springs are designed to work with their mattresses. Therefore, the best box spring is the one that is sold with that mattress. Also, a box spring can wear out, just like a mattress (it can also be accidentally damaged in handling), so it is best to buy a new box spring for a new mattress.

[1] Ecyclopædia Britannica, Merriam-Webster, “box spring,”, 
accessed 08/27/2014.

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This entry was posted on Thursday, August 28th, 2014 at 8:05 PM and is filed under box spring, box springs, coils, foundations, springs, wood slats . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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