Store It Under the Bed
by: Michael O'Brien
A bed frame with drawers is most often referred to as a captain’s bed. The origin of the term no doubt comes from the need for storage space in the tight confines of life on board ship. In the days of sail ships and the early days of steam ships, the crew often slept in hammocks that may have been no more than a piece of cloth about six feet long and four feet wide and were very common on early ships of war. Since the crew’s quarters may have been located on a gun deck, the hammocks could be removed quickly to make room for the gun crews. The word hammock is said to be of Caribbean origin.
The officers on board ship very often had a cabin of their own or shared a space with a fellow officer. The captain of a ship always has a single cabin out respect for his rank and need for privacy. Officers, including the captain would have had a mattress of sorts sometimes stuffed with linen rag or even feather down.
Space aboard ship is a precious commodity so shipbuilders and sailors became very adept at finding storage space. Even the captain’s quarters may have been no bigger than a large closet and space for the bed was considered wasted if provisions were not made for storage underneath. Drawers were often built under the bed to accommodate the storage needs that officers had. Most ship crews had few personal possessions but officers were allowed more privilege when it came to clothing and other personal items.
So the tradition continues in the modern age in the form of bed frames with drawers. Captain’s beds are ideal of a child’s room or for small rooms that lack space for much in the way of traditional bedroom furniture such as dressers.
The notion of adding storage under a bed is not limited to captain’s beds. Many bed frame designs feature extra clearance to allow for the placement of storage boxes. So consider a bed with drawers or a raised frame design the next time you need to purchase a bed.
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