• Clairesse Jones

The Incomplete History of Pillows


I know for a fact that you have heard of pillows before. You use them all the time. You have many in your house. However, have you ever thought of researching them? To learn who had the first pillows? How pillows can be used? What types of pillows there are?


Pillows have been used since prehistoric times, though differently than the pillows we have today. Early examples of pillows occurred when reptiles and mammals rested their heads on themselves or others to support their head and neck. Animals started using wood and stone pillows. Chimpanzees made sleeping platforms in the trees that included a wooden pillow because they knew it would improve their sleep. The earliest recorded use of a modern pillow by a human was in Mesopotamia in 7,000 B.C.E. Back then, only wealthy people would use pillows. In Ancient Egypt, stone pillows were put under the deceased's head. In Ancient Europe, the pillows were softer because they were filled with feathers, reeds, and straw.


Different cultures use pillows in different ways. In some cultures, pillows are significant. For example, the Japanese invented the Dakimakura or the "hugging pillow", which can also be found in Indonesia and the Philippines. Indonesia has a long hugging pillow called a Guling. The Philippines have the Abrazador, a different type of long pillow. There is also a type of pillow called a reading pillow. It is a sizeable, backed pillow that sits its user upright. The reading pillow is commonly used for reading and watching television. Though pillows aren't only used for sleeping, sitting upright, and hugging, they are also used for therapy, as decoration, and as a weapon. You may have used a pillow as a weapon before during sleepover parties while engaging in a "pillow fight". Although they usually only occur between small groups of children, there have been family pillow fights and large public pillow fights in neighborhoods.


As you know now, pillows have been around for a long time and are made in many different ways. Next time you see a pillow think about how far it has come to be what it is today.



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