The Mattress That Revolutionized
Memory Foam Mattress Design

The Original Memory Foam Mattress

The first memory foam mattress was put on the market in 1991 in Sweden by Fagerdala World Foam as the Swedish Tempur Mattress (this came from the name “temper foam” that NASA engineers called the foam they developed because it was temperature-sensitive). It was a layer of memory foam on a thicker layer of firm polyurethane foam. Because of its pressure relief, it quickly became popular in Sweden. The next year, Tempur-Pedic was started in Lexington, Kentucky to sell the Tempur Mattress in North America, where it also became popular. Since then, Tempur-Pedic has been the standard to which other memory foam mattresses are compared.

The New Design

The original Tri-Pedic, introduced in 2005, was designed by Dr. Rick Swartzburg to correct common problems with memory foam mattresses. These were:

  • Too firm when cold
  • Hard to change position
  • Too soft when warm
  • Too hotPressure Mapping of original Tri-Pedic Mattress

Dr. Swartzburg attributed all four of these problems to the 5.3-lb. density memory foam top layer. The denser the memory foam, the more temperature-sensitive it is. This is what makes it conforming. As it warms up, it softens. Since it warms more under the larger body parts, that is where it sinks in more. This way it conforms better to the body – less pressure on large joints, more support for smaller ones. This can be seen in the Beds.Org pressure mapping of the original Tri-Pedic Mattress.

Too Stiff

Before the memory foam warms up, it is stiff. Not only is denser memory foam more temperature-sensitive, it is less pressure-sensitive. Dr. Swartzburg’s solution was to split the top layer into two layers. He used 4-lb. memory foam in top layer and 5-lb. foam in the next layer. More pressure-sensitive, it would begin to conform as soon as the user got into bed. Then as it warmed up, it conformed more closely to the body.

Hard to Move, Too Soft

The 4-lb. foam is more resilient than the denser foam. It takes less time to rebound when a sleeper moves, making it easier to change one’s position. Also, it does not sink in as far.

Too Hot

As the 5.3-lb. memory foam absorbed more heat, it could not dissipate it well because it was too dense. The 4-lb. memory foam did not absorb as much heat, and it dissipated the heat more quickly. Therefore it did not get as hot.

Dr. Swartzburg then put 5-lb. memory foam in the second layer for the benefit of its greater conformity, even as the top layer was cooler and initially responsive. Since the Tempur-Pedic mattress had two layers and the new one had three, he called it Tri-Pedic.


This new design had an impact. It was cooler than Tempur-Pedic mattresses and more responsive when the sleeper got into bed. After a while, Tempur-Pedic adopted the concept of lighter memory foam on top of denser memory foam, and this became the standard for memory foam mattress construction. The closest Tempur-Pedic mattresses to the Tri-Pedic series are in the Tempur-Cloud Collection.

From One Model to a Series

Tri-Pedic Models - Gold, Platinum, Diamond

Now Tri-Pedic is a mattresses series. There are three models: Tri-Pedic Gold, Tri-Pedic Platinum, Tri-Pedic Diamond.

Tri-Pedic Platinum is the original Tri-Pedic Mattress. The 4-lb. memory foam top layer is 2” high. The 5-lb. middle layer is also 2’ high. And the base layer 6” high. The cover originally was stretch cotton, but now it is Kool-Flow, the same material as in covers of the top-rated Snuggle-Pedic mattress and pillows.

KoolFlow is a knit blend of 40% bamboo-derived rayon, polyester, and Lycra (spandex). This knit has mico-vents to let more air pass through for ventilation and cooling. This material, which Relief-Mart has licensed to other manufacturers, was developed as part of the Airflow Transfer System.

Airflow Transfer System

Developed after the designing of the Tri-Pedic Mattress, the Airflow Transfer System (ATS) is an option for this series as well as for the Fibro-Pedic and Soft-Pedic. It is also standard in Snuggle-Pedic and TempFlow mattresses. Besides the KoolFlow cover, the top layers are ventilated for vertical airflow and the top surface of the base layer is channel-cut for horizontal airflow. This facilitates better ventilation then open-cell memory foam by itself, or vertical ventilation without the horizontal channels, as demonstrated in this video.

Table: Tri-Pedic Mattress Specifications


Tri-Pedic Mattresses


Gold Platinum


Top Layer Material

4-lb. Memory Foam* 4-lb. Memory Foam* 4-lb. Memory Foam*
Top Layer Height




Middle Layer Material

5-lb. Memory Foam*

5-lb. Memory Foam*

5-lb. Memory Foam*

Middle Layer Height




Base Layer Material

High-resiliency, high-density orthopedic polyurethane foam**

High-resiliency, high-density orthopedic polyurethane foam**

High-resiliency, high-density orthopedic polyurethane foam**

Base Layer Height








*Ventilated in mattresses with the optional Airflow Transfer System

**Channel-cut on the top surface in mattresses with the optional Airflow Transfer System

Customer Ratings

Mattress ReviewsWe calculate our ratings in accordance to our Verified Review Policy.

Since, except for the Snuggle-Pedic, mattresses by Selectabed (a division of Relief-Mart) are not sold through Amazon, there are no verified customer reviews of them on Amazon. However, the company has a 5-star overall rating on Yelp, including 4 stars by one reviewer specifically for the Tri-Pedic Platinum, which would have been 5 stars except for a minor glitch in follow-up. Besides this, there is a 5-star verified customer review on Beds.Org and a very favorable writer’s review on Space Daily.

Then there are in-kind endorsements. The Sleep Disorders Center of Alabama uses Tri-Pedic and Fibro-Pedic mattresses on the beds in its clinic. And Tri-Pedic mattresses were “chosen by the State Department as the only Memory Foam Mattress offered for all of the U.S. Embassy housing around the world!”

Considering its innovative beginning and continued innovations combined with the known customer response, we rate the Tri-Pedic mattresses as 4.9 to 5.0, confident that if sold on Amazon they would have a similar verified customer rating, especially those with the Airflow Transfer System.

Tri-Pedic Series




  • Pressure relief
  • Quick initial response
  • Cool (Airflow option)