In the early 1960s, the National Association of Bedding Manufacturers led campaigns supported by the steel and cotton industries that included “Measure your bed” followed by “Buy Bigger, Sleep Better” campaigns that may be why many people mistakenly believe that King sizes were introduced in the 1960s. According to industry publications, king-sized beds shot up from being less than 1% of the total bedding sales in the US in 1953 to 10% of sales by 1962.
At the time, bedding sizes weren’t standardized across the industry. Much like bunk sizes in today’s RVs, the name for the size didn’t describe the measurements. The Association encouraged mattress manufacturers to standardize the sizes which led to queen mattresses being defined as 60 x 80 and everything larger as a King. They argued that both the King and the California King had their places. We agree.