Duvets were first sold in the 1960’s but their history goes back further than that.
The history of duvets
The word “duvet” comes originally from the French word meaning down. Duvets began originally in rural Europe, and were usually made from the down feathers of the eider duck. Makes sense, since duvets are also often known as eiderdowns. This meant that duvets were really good thermal insulators, otherwise known as keeping you toastie warm!
“The designer’s job is to imagine the world not how it is, but how it should be.” – Sir Terence Conran
It seems that it was Sir Terence Conran who first began selling duvets to Brits, back in the 1960’s. Sir Terence ostensibly came across a duvet during a “social” trip to Sweden. So, when Habitat opened on the Kings Road in Chelsea, duvets were now on sale in the UK, and where it was sold as”the 10 second bed”, since it didn’t need to be made up each morning, just shaken out. But from there, sleepers across the UK have never looked back, and in a recent poll in the Daily Telegraph, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/lifestyle/9823911/Duvets-or-blankets-Bedding-debate-splits-the-nation.html, 83% of respondents used duvets rather than blankets. This was also backed up by research done at Birmingham University.
Listen to Desert Island Discs with Sir Terence Conran talking about his bedding discovery that changed the British bedroom forever: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0093ncz
|Where’s the word come from?|
|Duvet||First used in English in 1758, we borrowed ‘duvet’ from the French (mais bien-sur, don’t they know everything about ze bedroom).
It means “down, the feathers of young birds”.
|A really ancient, neolithic word, about 6000 years old! Common in many European languages – Daune / dunn / dun etc. all meaning soft feathers of young birds.|
|Quilt||This is an older word than ‘duvet’ but also from those sophisticated French First recorded in English around 1300, it had the meaning “mattress with soft lining,”. The French stole it from Latin though, ‘culcita’ meaning “mattress, bolster,”.|
|Comforter||What, French again? Yes, you’ve guessed it, although uniquely used by Americans as a word for a duvet, a ‘comforter’ comes from the French ‘conforter’ – to give comfort and was poached by the USA in around 1832.|
Who says you never learn anything from shopping?