Monday, August 22, 2011

The rope laced bed of the 1800's

Rope laced bed.

Inns of the first Crown’s vintage, the bed shown above would have been one of the most common in use. The lace network of rope between the frame of the bed, which had auger holes, spaced about six inches apart.

The end of the rope was double knotted at one end; the rope was fed through the first hole at the foot of the bed frame and threaded through the corresponding hole at the other end. The rope was then pulled taut using a simple levering device and a small tapered wooden plug was tapped into the hole to stop the rope losing its tension. The rope was then fed into the next hole and the whole process was repeated at the other end of the bed. Again when the tension had been made another tapered wooden plug would have been tapped into place. This process would have continued until the threading of the rope was completed. As the work proceeded from end to end the wooden plug was removed and reused in the next hole. At the completion of the last hole the tapered plug was left in place and the balance of the rope was coiled for future use.

The cross roping was then done in the same format except, that this time the rope is fed under and over the rope strands going in the opposite direction. This also gives the rope support extra firmness. On top of which would be placed the straw filled palliasse.

From time to time the rope had to be tightened due to it stretching in a damp atmosphere. Hence the term of sleeping tight, as in the old saying passed down through the years, “Goodnight, sleep tight, and don’t let the bed bugs bite.”

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