A waterbed, water mattress, or flotation mattress is a bed or mattress filled with water. Waterbeds intended for medical therapies appear in various reports through the 19th century. The modern version, invented in San Francisco and patented in 1971, became an extremely popular consumer item in the United States through the 1980s and 90s
The first water-filled beds were goatskins filled with water, used in Persia more then 3,600 years ago. In 1873, Sir James Paget at St Bartholomew's Hospital presented a modern waterbed designed by Neil Arnott as a treatment and prevention of pressure ulcers (bed sores). Waterbeds allowed mattress pressure to be evenly distributed over the body. By 1895 a few waterbeds were sold via mail order by the British store, Harrod’s. They looked like, and probably were, very large hot water bottles. Due to lack of suitable materials, the waterbed did not gain widespread use until the 1960s, after the invention of vinyl.