The irony of using an iPad to access 19th and early 20th century literature is not lost on me, but I’m really enjoying reading original source material from the Arts and Crafts and bungalow movement. Deep in the pages of Bungalow Magazine I found an ad for the Murphy bed’s forgotten competitor, the Sorlien ceiling bed.
The Sorlien company’s contraption hides the bed in the ceiling rafters. As you can see in Sorlien’s 1913 patent, you lower the bed via a crank in the wall. Weights, also hidden in the wall, counterbalance the bed. Folding legs on the bottom of the bed deploy like landing gear on a UFO so that you’re not swinging from a chain all night (although that sounds kinda fun).
Sorlien’s invention never caught on and the company diversified into tent trailers. But it appears that the tiny house folks have revived the ceiling bed idea.
Sears Modern Home blog has more information on the Sorlien bed.