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How Transfer Master Invented the Home Hospital Bed: Our First Ten Years

The Transfer Master team has been dedicated to advancing the state-of-the-art in adjustable beds for almost 30 years,  and our current range—especially the flagship Supernal 5—represents decades of research and development.

It’s been a long journey, but a single idea shaped our company’s mission from the start: We create beds that combine all the flexibility and functionality of hospital beds but, unlike traditional hospital beds, they fit into a regular bedroom without looking out of place.

Before Transfer Master

Aaron Goldsmith—founder, CEO, and inventor of our key technologies—worked for several medical equipment manufacturers in his early career. He was well-placed to observe the strengths and weaknesses of the era’s adjustable bed technology. In the 1980s, home hospital beds were not as sophisticated as they are today. If you needed an adjustable bed, you had two choices: hospital beds or contour beds.

Hospital beds of the time had the position adjustments we’re familiar with today, including head, foot, and tilt adjustments. Their height could be adjusted too, raising and lowering the mattress to help with treatment and wheelchair or gurney transfers.

But hospital beds were big, bulky, hard-to-move, and ugly. They were designed for the professional context of a hospital, and they looked like it: the frame and mechanisms were exposed, and the design was focused on function, not appearance.

The alternative was a contour bed. Contour beds had many of the same position adjustments as hospital beds. They were more compact, and they looked as if they had been designed for the home, with frame and mechanism concealed within the platform base.

However, contour beds lacked a key feature of hospital beds: they were not height adjustable. The Hi-Low height adjustments of hospital beds were vital for wheelchair users, people with mobility and balance challenges, and many older people, making contour beds of limited use.

Aaron knew he could do better, and set to work designing an innovative bed with the shape and features of a contour bed and the height adjustment of a hospital bed, all concealed within the pedestal base so that it didn’t look out of place in a domestic bedroom.

The Founding of Transfer Master

Aaron’s designs were an innovation in the adjustable bed market, and in 1994 he filed the first of many adjustable-bed patents. The patent—Modular High-Low-Adjustable Contour-Adjustable Bed—reveals the thinking behind what would become the first Transfer Master adjustable bed:

“It is desirable to combine the capability of a hospital bed to be adjustable in height above the floor with the suitable appearance of a contour bed for location in the bedroom of a private home.”

Aaron founded Transfer Master in 1993 with his father Louis Goldsmith to manufacture and sell the original Transfer Master home hospital bed. We set up our first office and factory in Long Beach, California. The team worked hard to build a high-quality manufacturing process while marketing their products in industry publications and at trade shows.

Interest in the original Transfer Master bed was intense. It was a market-defining product with life-changing consequences for thousands of seniors, wheelchair users, and disabled people.

Throughout the 1990s and into the next century, Aaron continued to refine Transfer Master’s design and manufacturing process, resulting in several patents focused on ingenious new features. One innovation worth highlighting is the modular home hospital bed. Our modular beds could be delivered to and assembled by the user — a significant improvement on the integrated hospital beds of the time, which were designed for wide hospital corridors and were often impossible to install in the bedroom of even a large home.

We soon outgrew our first premises, prompting a cross-country move. We relocated our administrative office and manufacturing operation from Long Beach, California to Postville, Iowa in 1998.

Over time, we added other beds to complement the original Transfer Master, including juvenile beds for younger people, an adjustable crib, the Transfer Master Plus bariatric bed, and accessories such as the Transfermatic Power Life Commode. In 2003, we celebrated our tenth anniversary and embarked on the second decade of the Transfer Master story, which we’ll share in our next post on the history of Transfer Master.

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About Transfer Master

Transfer Master has built electric adjustable hospital beds for the home and medical facility since 1993. We started with a simple goal that hospital beds should allow wheelchair users to transfer independently in and out of bed. Twenty-five years later, our customers are still at the center of everything we do. You’ll feel the difference.