This section is from the book "Manual Of Household Work And Management", by Annie Butterworth. Also available from Amazon: Manual Of Household Work And Management.
HAIR MATTRESSES are very comfortable and healthy. A good linen tick is necessary or the ends of the hair work through : they cost from about 27/- to 49/- for single beds, and 52/- to 76/- for double ones; the hair varying in price from 8d. to 2/6 per pound. They are delightfully springy, and if after some years' wear they become flat, they can be sent to an upholsterer's, where the hair will be re-curled, and 2 or 3 lbs. of new hair added, and the mattress will again be like a new one.
WHITE WOOL (6d. to 1/- per lb.). These are very soft. The wool is obtained from blanket manufacturers; it consists of fluff too short for weaving. They are almost as expensive but not as springy as hair mattresses, costing from about 25/-for single bed.
If after long use they become lumpy the following treatment is beneficial: Take the mattress into an unused attic or empty room; lay a sheet on the floor; take out the rounds of leather and rip one end, emptying the mattress on the sheet. The wool will be found in lozenge-shaped lumps; pick these apart with the fingers. The tick should be washed, starched, ironed, and if possible polished with a polishing iron, as the slight glaze keeps it clean longer. Replace the picked wool, keeping the mattress even on the floor. This is a rather tedious operation, but quite within the scope of home accomplishment. There is usually 27 lbs. of stuffing in single beds and 40 lbs. in double.
This is often used to fill mattresses, but it is not to be recommended, as the hair helps to bind the wool in lumps.
This comes extensively from Algeria, and is sometimes used as a cheap substitute for hair; it is light, healthy, and springy (3 3/4d per lb.).
obtained from carpet-combings, is used for very cheap mattresses. It very quickly becomes hard and lumpy; it varies from 2 3/4d. to 1/- per lb., single mattresses from 10/11.
FLOCK should only be used for beds which can be well shaken, never for mattresses, as being so short in the fibre it quickly becomes hard and lumpy (from 2 3/4d. to 5 3/4d. per lb.).
ALVA, which is a dried seaweed (5 d. per lb.), should be avoided, as it retains the damp and breeds moths.
OAT CHAFF is useful for mattresses for young children, as it can be renewed frequently; it is clean and sufficiently warm without being heating.
The best quality is used mostly for feather beds and pillows, and costs 3/6 per yard. It is closely woven, bright in appearance, of a fair thickness, has usually a navy-blue and white stripe, and, like many ticks, is 63 inches wide.
BELGIAN TICK is most commonly made of cotton, and varies in price from 6 3/4d. to 1/6 3/4 per yard. It is softer than that made of linen, and is used for mattresses more than beds. It may be had from 58 to 63 inches wide. Check mattress tick (large navy-blue and white check) is generally all cotton. It is 87 inches wide, and about 2/6 per yard.
UNION TICK has the warp threads of cotton and the weft of linen. It wears very well and costs about 1/- per yard.
DUNDEE TICK is used principally for sailors' beds, as it does not readily absorb moisture, and dries more quickly.