Latex: feel/quality of the 60's products

During the 60’s we purchased three, five and six inch latex mattresses (Englander) which lasted for fifteen years with no indentation, ie had full support. Then latex was taken off the market for years. I’ve tried to replace that quality and comfort with Sealy and Serta products but nothing holds up, the support starts to indent in about a year and with my low back problem the mattress becomes useless. (I am a side sleeper).

In reading your blog, and a few others on the internet, it seems my best choice is Talalay and since I’ve gained a few pounds I believe I would need at least a 10 inch model. And not layered but a solid core of latex. I suppose it’s impossible for someone to compare that to the 6" Englander of the 60’s - or can you? I live in Mn and haven’t found the product locally so I’ll have to order online. Scary that I can’t try it out. Can you tell me which would be a better match with it: a box spring , or a solid unit?

Hi tulipgirl,

Latex mattresses similar to the ones that were made in the 60s and 70’s (made from 100% natural Dunlop or blended Talalay) are still being made today by many manufacturers and are just as durable now as they were then (see this article for an example of a latex mattress that lasted for almost 50 years although I’m not so sure I would keep any mattress for that long).

The first place I would start your research is the mattress shopping tutorial here which has all the information, steps, and guidelines that can help you make the best choice … and know how and why to avoid the worst ones (including the major manufacturers such as Sealy and Serta which tend to use lower quality and less durable materials in their comfort layers which is the reason you experienced the issues you did).

The choice between Talalay and Dunlop is a preference issue not a “better/worse” choice. There is more about the different types and blends of latex in post #6 here and more about the difference in how they “feel” in post #7 here but the best way to decide which one you prefer is your own testing and experience. Latex is generally made in 6" cores (occasionally up to 7") so you won’t find a solid layer of latex that is 10" thick.

I would also use your testing to decide on the specifics of a mattress that is the best match for you rather than trying to figure out what you need “in theory” (see mattress firmness/comfort levels in post #2 here) although it’s true that in some cases (depending to some degree on the design of the mattress) heavier body types may do better on a thicker mattress than lighter body types (see post #14 here).

I don’t know where you are in Minnesota but if you are in the Minneapolis area then the better options and possibilities I’m aware of are listed in post #2 here and you certainly have some latex options available to you in the area. If you live somewhere else then if you let me know your city or zip code I’d be happy to let you know about any of the better options or possibilities I’m aware of in your area.

There is more about the types of support systems that work best with different types of mattresses in post #1 here and the two posts it links to in the second paragraph but in most cases a latex mattress does best with a strong, non flexing slatted foundation or platform bed with no more than 3" between the slats (and preferably less).


Phoenix, Wow, this is going to take a rocket scientist to dissect / utilize all of this info. “Me thinks the salesmen are not going to be happy” when I arrive with my questions and notepad. I’m off to California, when I return hope to digest this as a meaningful
education. Thanks, tulipgirl73

Hi tulipgirl73,

I would tend to avoid getting too involved in “studying” technical information (which can lead to “information overwhelm” or “paralysis by analysis” and just as many poor choices as having too little information). Knowing “just enough” to recognize when you are dealing with a knowledgeable, transparent, and experienced manufacturer or retailer that has your best interests at heart and that already knows what you would otherwise need to learn is a much simpler approach.

Who you deal with can be one of the most important parts of a successful mattress purchase.