According to Smithsonian Mag, the Murphy Bed was originally invented around 1900 in San Francisco, when William Lawrence Murphy “was falling for a young opera singer and courting customs at that time would not permit a lady to enter a gentleman’s bedroom. His invention allowed him to stow his bed in his closet, transforming his one-room apartment from a bedroom into a parlor.”
Murphy then formed the Murphy Bed Company, and patented his “In-A-Door” bed in 1908. He never trademarked the name “Murphy Bed,” however.
Murphy Beds peaked in 1925, when the company moved its corporate headquarters to New York City.
Bed historian Robyn Einhorn of the Smithsonian in Washington says owning a Murphy Bed became a status symbol—”People would move into these hotels in New York and they would have a suite which would include a Murphy bed, so they could pick up the bed and have a parlor.“
The grandson of inventor William, Clark W. Murphy, has been the president of the company since 1983.