The California King is a unique extra-long mattress that offers ample sleeping space for taller individuals. But where does this mattress get its regal, geographic name from? The history behind the California King moniker reveals how marketing and necessity came together to create this distinct bed size.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: The California King mattress gets its name from being originally manufactured in California in the 1950s to suit the needs of the taller population of the West Coast.

In this in-depth explainer, we’ll look at the invention of the California King, how it was marketed and sold primarily in California in its early years, and why the Golden State’s tall residents spurred demand for this elongated mattress.

Invention and Early Manufacturing in CA

The California King mattress, also known as the “Cal King,” has a fascinating history that dates back to the 1950s. It was developed by the California-based firm Simmons, a renowned mattress manufacturer.

Developed by California firm Simmons in the 1950s

The California King mattress was the brainchild of Simmons, a company known for its innovative approach to sleep technology. In the 1950s, Simmons recognized the need for a larger mattress option that would cater to the preferences and requirements of taller individuals.

As a result, they introduced the California King mattress to the market.

Simmons is a trusted name in the mattress industry and has been committed to providing quality sleep solutions for decades. Their expertise in designing and manufacturing mattresses allowed them to create a product that met the specific needs of Californians and beyond.

Made 4″ longer than standard King mattress

One of the defining features of the California King mattress is its length. It is made 4 inches longer than the standard King mattress, giving sleepers extra legroom to stretch out comfortably. This additional length is particularly beneficial for taller individuals who may find traditional mattresses too short.

The California King mattress provides ample space for couples to sleep comfortably without feeling cramped. Its generous dimensions make it a popular choice for master bedrooms, where couples can enjoy a spacious and luxurious sleep surface.

Initially built and sold mainly in California

As the name suggests, the California King mattress initially gained popularity and was primarily manufactured and sold in California. The state’s diverse population and its reputation for embracing innovation made it a natural fit for introducing a new mattress size.

With time, the popularity of the California King mattress spread beyond California’s borders, becoming a sought-after option across the United States and around the world. Today, it is widely available and has become a staple in the mattress industry.

For more information on the history and features of the California King mattress, you can visit Simmons website or Sleep Foundation website.

Targeted Marketing to Tall Californians

When it comes to marketing strategies, companies often employ various tactics to appeal to specific target audiences. In the case of the California King mattress, the marketing campaign focused on targeting tall Californians.

By understanding the preferences and needs of this niche market, mattress manufacturers sought to create a product that would cater to their unique requirements.

Ads claimed it was for the ‘taller people of the West Coast’

One of the primary strategies employed in marketing the California King mattress was emphasizing its suitability for taller individuals. Advertisements touted the mattress as being specifically designed for the “taller people of the West Coast.”

By using this language, manufacturers aimed to resonate with Californians who may have struggled to find a mattress that properly accommodated their height.

Promoted benefits to athletes and Hollywood stars

Another aspect of the marketing campaign was the promotion of the California King mattress as a preferred choice for athletes and Hollywood stars. By associating the mattress with these glamorous and influential figures, manufacturers sought to create a sense of desirability and exclusivity around the product.

Athletes, in particular, require quality sleep for optimal performance, and the California King mattress was positioned as the ideal solution to support their active lifestyles.

Associated it with the glamorous California lifestyle

Furthermore, the marketing campaign for the California King mattress capitalized on the allure of the glamorous California lifestyle. The mattress was positioned as a symbol of luxury and sophistication, appealing to consumers who aspired to live a Californian-inspired lifestyle.

By associating the mattress with this aspirational image, manufacturers aimed to create a sense of desire and aspiration among potential buyers.

Rise of the California King Nationwide

The California King mattress, despite its name, has gained popularity and widespread use across the United States. Originally created in California, this mattress size has expanded its manufacturing and sales throughout the country.

Expanded manufacturing and sales across the U.S.

What started as a regional preference for larger-sized mattresses in California has now become a nationwide trend. Manufacturers quickly recognized the demand for California King mattresses and began producing them in various locations across the country.

This expansion in manufacturing has made California King mattresses more accessible to consumers in all states.

Kept ‘California’ name for branding purposes

Even though the California King mattress is no longer exclusive to California, the name has been retained for branding purposes. The name ‘California King’ has become synonymous with a specific size and dimensions, making it easier for consumers to identify and purchase the right mattress for their needs.

Plus, the name adds a touch of uniqueness and prestige to the product.

Became sought after by tall consumers nationwide

One of the reasons for the rise in popularity of California King mattresses nationwide is their appeal to taller individuals. With extra length compared to traditional King-sized mattresses, the California King provides more legroom for taller sleepers.

As people become more aware of the importance of a good night’s sleep, the demand for mattresses that cater to individual needs, including height, has increased.

According to a study conducted by the National Sleep Foundation, nearly 30% of Americans are above average height. This statistic further supports the growing popularity of California King mattresses among tall consumers.

Ongoing Relevance of the Name

The name “California King” has continued to be used for this type of mattress due to its ongoing relevance and appeal in the bedding industry. The name conveys a sense of luxury and grandeur, evoking images of spaciousness and comfort.

Conveys a sense of luxury and grandeur

The term “California King” has become synonymous with a large and luxurious mattress. The size of a California King mattress, which measures 72 inches wide and 84 inches long, offers ample space for individuals or couples who desire a roomy sleeping surface.

The name itself suggests a level of opulence and indulgence, making it an attractive option for those seeking a high-end mattress.

Evokes California’s image and reputation

The name “California King” also evokes the image and reputation of California as a state associated with wealth, style, and innovation. California is often seen as a trendsetter in various industries, including fashion, technology, and entertainment.

By naming a mattress after the state, it creates a connection to these associations and adds a touch of prestige to the product.

Furthermore, California is renowned for its spacious and luxurious homes, and a California King mattress is often seen as a perfect fit for these types of residences. The name reinforces the idea that this mattress is designed for those with a taste for the finer things in life.

Differentiates it from the Standard King

Another reason why the name “California King” has persisted is to differentiate it from the standard King size mattress. While both mattresses are similar in terms of width, with the California King being slightly narrower, the difference in length sets them apart.

A standard King mattress measures 76 inches wide and 80 inches long, making it wider but shorter than a California King.

This distinction is important for those who require extra length for their taller frames or simply prefer a longer sleeping surface. By giving it a unique name, the California King mattress stands out in the market and caters to a specific demographic.

Suitable for Tall Individuals Across the U.S.

The California King mattress, despite its name, is not limited to the West Coast. In fact, it has gained popularity and is now widely used by tall individuals across the United States. While it may have originated in California, its appeal and benefits have spread to all corners of the country.

No longer just popular on the West Coast

Although the California King mattress was initially associated with the West Coast, it has now become a sought-after option nationwide. Its larger size and extended length make it an ideal choice for tall individuals who need that extra space to sleep comfortably.

The demand for California King mattresses has grown steadily over the years, and it is now readily available in stores and online retailers across the country.

Provides extra length for tall sleepers everywhere

One of the main reasons why the California King mattress is so popular among tall individuals is its generous length. Measuring 72 inches wide and 84 inches long, it offers an additional 4 inches in length compared to a standard King mattress.

This extra length ensures that tall sleepers have enough room to stretch out and find a comfortable sleeping position without their feet hanging off the end of the bed.

In addition to its length, the California King mattress also provides ample width, allowing couples to have plenty of space to sleep comfortably together. This makes it a great option for those who prioritize personal space and value a good night’s sleep.

Name persists due to strong branding

Despite being widely used across the United States, the California King mattress continues to be called by its original name. This is largely due to the strong branding and recognition it has built over the years.

The name “California King” has become synonymous with a specific size and dimensions, making it easier for consumers to identify and choose the right mattress for their needs.

It’s important to note that the term “California King” is not exclusive to mattresses. It is also used to describe other products, such as bedding and furniture, that are designed to fit this specific size. This further reinforces the association between the name and the dimensions of the mattress.


Though the California King mattress was originally manufactured to meet the needs of taller Californians, its regal name has stuck even as it became popular nationwide. More than just descriptive, the ‘California’ branding evokes luxury and desirability while differentiating from other bed sizes. So while residents across America now enjoy the extra length of the California King, they can still thank the Golden State’s tall population for spurring its invention and royal moniker.

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