History of the Electric Blanket

The first crude electric blanket was invented in the early 1900s.

Model in GE Electric Blanket Advertisement
Model in GE Electric Blanket Advertisement. Chris Hunter/Getty Images

The first crude electric blanket was invented in the early 1900s. The heated bed coverings bore little resemblance to the electric blankets we are familiar with today. They were big and bulky heating devices that were dangerous to use, and the blankets were really considered an oddity.

Use in Sanitariums

In 1921, electric blankets started receiving more attention after being regularly used in tuberculosis sanitariums.

Tuberculosis patients were routinely prescribed lots of fresh air, which included sleeping outdoors. The blankets were used to keep the patients warm. When any product comes to public attention, attempts to improve design begins and the electric blanket was no exception.

Thermostat Control

In 1936, the first automatic, electric blanket was invented. It had a separate thermostat control which automatically turned on and off, in response to room temperature. The thermostat also served as a safety device, turning off if hot spots in the blanket occurred. Later, thermostats were wired into the blankets and multiple thermostats were used. This basic design remained until 1984 when thermostats-free electric blankets were introduced.

Warming Pads & Heated Quilts

The term "electric blanket" was not used until the 1950s, blankets used to be called "warming pads" or "heated quilts"

Today's electric blankets can respond to both room and body temperatures.

The blankets can even send more heat to your cold feet and less to your hot head (that is if you cover your head with the blanket.)

I am still researching the following:

  • That in 1946 the first automatic electric blanket went on sale in the US for $39.50, in Petersburg, Virginia.
  • And that an inventor called S. I. Russell patented an electric blanket and some consider him the inventor of the electric blanket.

    Continue > Who Invented Beds?

    mla apa chicago
    Your Citation
    Bellis, Mary. "History of the Electric Blanket." ThoughtCo, Apr. 6, 2017, thoughtco.com/history-of-the-electric-blanket-1991596. Bellis, Mary. (2017, April 6). History of the Electric Blanket. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/history-of-the-electric-blanket-1991596 Bellis, Mary. "History of the Electric Blanket." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/history-of-the-electric-blanket-1991596 (accessed May 23, 2018).