|Two original Murphy beds -- one open, one closed -- in a Tudor City apartment, 1941.|
|Hatfield House floor plan, 1930|
The Murphy bed was not the first fold-down bed, but was named after William Lawrence Murphy because his beds were decidedly superior to competitors' models, owing to unique pivot and counterbalance patents that Murphy owned.
Tudor City advertisements didn't bill them as Murphy beds. Rather, they were romanticized in ad-speak as "in-a-door-beds" or "disappearing beds" that could be hidden away by "the mere turning of a doorknob."
Murphy beds were the butt of many a joke in the movies, most memorably satirized by Charlie Chaplin in the 1916 flicker, One A.M. See the clip here.