From Waterbeds to Memory Foam and Innersprings
Classic Corporation began making waterbeds in 1971. This was 20 years before the introduction of memory foam mattresses. Classic Corp. rode the wave to the top as the leading producer of fluid support for sleep. The peak of the wave was in 1987, when 22% of mattress sales in the United States were waterbeds. Waterbed sales, including Classic’s, was still a sizable portion of the American mattress market in 1992, when Sweden’s Fagerdala World Foams established Tempur-Pedic in Lexington, KY to market tempur (memory foam) mattresses in North America. By the end of the decade, sales of waterbeds had declined significantly.
The popularity of fluid support was its conformability and pressure relief. This depended in large part on how full the waterbed was filled, which did have the advantage of adjustability (though adjusting a bed while using it would have to wait for the ComfortAire and Sleep Number adjustable airbeds). Conformity and pressure relief was the selling point for memory foam and its growing popularity. It had the advantage of not having the weight of a full waterbed and the potential for leaks.
Although there is still a market for waterbeds, it could no longer support as many major manufacturers. Most waterbed producers have since added airbeds to their product lineup, and several of them have branched out into other specialty sleep (no metal coils) mattresses, especially memory foam and latex. Some, like Classic, have even begun to produce innerspring and hybrid mattresses.
In 2002, Classic Corporation became Classic Brands. Under this label, their products are found in mattress stores and on online retailers, such as Amazon, Wayfair, Mattress Firm, HayNeedle, and seven others. The Classic Brands product line now includes not only mattresses, toppers, mattress protectors, pillows, a KD foundation, and the Adjustable Comfort adjustable bed, but also the DeCoro and Delandis furniture brands of sofas, love seats and chairs.
More than the name has changed since then. Now all of Classic Brands mattresses are compressed, sealed, rolled and boxed for shipping. Not only that, all are imported, mostly from China. As a result, the prices are low.
Collections and Models
Classic Brands (CB) has six mattress collections: Hybrid Mattresses, Cool Gel Mattresses, Memory Foam Mattresses, Innerspring Mattresses, Latex Foam Mattresses, and Sofa Mattresses. Cool Gel has the most models (6), followed by Hybrid and Memory Foam Mattresses (4 each), Innerspring and Sofa Mattresses (3 each), and Latex Foam Mattresses (2). The heights range from 4”, 4½” and 5” for Sofa Mattresses to 14” for the highest Hybrid and Cool Gel models. Besides these models, some discontinued models are still listed on Amazon, which presumably will be taken off when sold out.
As with any mattress, there are several materials which can be found in any one mattress, unless it’s the all-cotton mattress you inherited from your great grandmother. While other materials may be used, Classic Brands focuses on four key materials: Open-cell memory foam, gel-infused memory foam, latex foam, and innersprings. Basically, cover materials receive little if any mention by Classic Brands. As the saying goes, It’s what’s inside that counts.
Classic Brands declares that it has “open-cell memory foam.” By now, almost all memory foam on the market has open-cell structure. For one thing,it makes the memory foam more breathable, so that as it responds to body heat to conform to the shape of the sleeper’s body, it also lets air filter through so some of the heat can dissipate. This addresses the problem of the original memory foam – accumulating heat until it becomes too
warm for comfort.
The role of memory foam, the reason why it was developed by NASA in the first place, is to mold itself to the body of the user – whether lying or sitting on it – to support the entire body evenly without undue pressure on any one part, and without neglecting any part.
Classic Brands, however, does not rely on open-cell structure alone to cool memory foam. It uses the same strategy as the Airflow Transfer System of Relief-Mart brands (Selectabed, TempFlow and Snuggle-Pedic). The memory foam is vertically ventilated with hundreds of pores to allow air to freely flow through the mattress. Heat dissipates into the air as it passes.
CB’s open-cell memory foam is not only in members of the Memory Foam Mattresses collection, but also in some members of other collections.
Gel-Infused Memory Foam
Classic Brands CoolGel Memory Foam is the signature ingredient for its largest collection. The memory foam is infused with beads of gel. The role of the gel is two-fold.
Gel makes the memory foam plusher for the same density. Gel may often be described as a semi-solid, semi-liquid substance, and this influences the support properties of whatever foam it is infused into. There are concerns that beads of gel may dissociate from their places in the foam after it has been flexed over a period of time, adversely affecting the integrity of the foam. This may not be true for every gel or gel foam, and it may differ among individual items, with other influencing factors, which may account for extreme differences in customer reviews for the same product.
It also absorbs heat, giving the foam an initial cooling effect. How long this effect lasts depends on how cool the gel is to start with. Lying unused, it quickly dissipates its heat into the room, becoming cool to the touch. When someone lies or sits on it, it quickly absorbs heat. The Classic Brands gel memory foam is, like the memory foam above, vertically ventilated. This lets the gel release heat into the air so it can absorb more heat from the sleepers.
In at least two of the CoolGel models (Cool Gel 12-Inch Gel Memory Foam Mattress and Cool Gel Ultimate 14-Inch Gel Memory Foam Mattress), semi-circular channels in the second and third layers divert air to and from the porous borders of the mattress to be exchanged with the room air. This compares with the cut air channels in the base foam in the Airflow Transfer System, as demonstrated in this video.
As with the memory foam, CB’s Gel-Infused Memory Foam is in more than its namesake collection. For example, it is the top layer in three of the Hybrid Mattresses: Engage, Mercer and Gramercy. Also, one of the Sofa Mattresses has the CoolGel Foam.
This is, according to Classic Brands, natural latex, made from the sap of rubber trees (Hevea brasiliensis). In the name of one of the two Latex Foam Mattresses, it is called Talalay, but not in the name of the other. However, the descriptions are the same except for the overall firmness, so it appears that all of CB latex foam is Talalay latex.
Latex foam is naturally resilient, bouncy. It was originally named “foam rubber.” It does contour to the body of a sleeper, relieving pressure, but unlike memory foam, it still pushes up. When the body weight is lifted, latex recovers practically instantly. Memory foam, on the other hand, holds the impression for several seconds.
This may seem odd for a manufacturer billed as a specialty sleep company to have mattresses with innersprings. However, Tempur-Pedic, the flagship memory foam mattress company, has a collection, Tempur-Flex, with pocket coils. For a while, it looked as though innersprings would become obsolete, but thanks to advancements in coil technology, innersprings mattresses have been holding steady. Some consumers actually prefer the feel of springs, called the “traditional feel.”
Currently, two kinds of coils are used in Classic Brands mattresses, Bonnell coils and wrapped pocket coils. Pocket coils are conforming. They were invented decades before memory foam for pressure relief, and are famous as the coils in the Beautyrest brand.
Bonnell coils are the original innerspring. They were adapted from buggy seat springs. These hourglass-shaped coils are tied to each other with helical wires. Traditionally, bed mattresses with Bonnells have stiff perimeter rods for edge support and innerspring integrity. The exception has been in sofa mattresses, which have to be folded to fit inside the sofa. One Classic Brands Innerspring Mattresses model and one Sofa Mattresses model have Bonnell coils. Both are rolled for shipment.
The benefit of innersprings is sturdy support. In most innerspring mattresses in the market, sagging is usually in the padding on top, usually foam, rather than in the springs. However, lighter gauge coils are more likely to fail, and higher coils counts in some major brand mattresses are at the expense of coil gauge.
The Collections and Models
- Hybrid Mattresses
- Decker 10.5-Inch Hybrid Memory Foam & Innerspring Mattress
- Engage 11-Inch Hybrid Gel Memory Foam & Innerspring Mattress
- Mercer 12-Inch Hybrid Gel Memory Foam & Innerspring Mattress
- Gramercy 14-Inch Hybrid Gel Memory Foam & Innerspring Mattress
- Cool Gel Mattresses
- Cool Gel 6-Inch Gel Memory Foam Mattress
- Cool Gel 8-Inch Ventilated Gel Memory Foam Mattress
- Cool Gel 10.5-Inch Gel Memory Foam Mattress
- Cool Gel 12-Inch Gel Memory Foam Mattress
- Cool Gel Ultimate 14-Inch Gel Memory Foam Mattress
- Memory Foam Mattresses
- Classic 6-Inch Memory Foam Mattress
- Classic 8-Inch Memory Foam Mattress
- Classic 10-Inch Ventilated Memory Foam Mattress
- Classic 12-Inch Ventilated Memory Foam Mattress
- Innerspring Mattresses
- 7-Inch Innerspring Mattress
- Advantage 8-Inch Innerspring Mattress
- 10-Inch Innerspring Mattress
- Latex Foam Mattresses
- Natural Sleep Kiera 11-Inch Talalay Latex Foam Mattress
- Natural Sleep Eden 11-Inch Latex Foam Mattress
- Sofa Mattresses
- Cool Gel 4.5-Inch Gel Memory Foam Sofa Mattress
- 5-Inch Memory Foam Sofa Mattress
- 5-Inch Innerspring Sofa Mattress
Although they are made in China and elsewhere overseas, Classic Brands mattresses have generally good customer reviews, at least on Amazon, as high as 4.8 or 4.7 for some, higher on the average than DynastyMattress, even though DM claims USA manufacturing.