Updated: Nov 6, 2018
In the 1930s and based out of St. Paul, MN, a contest in the Midwestern states was held to name the new spring mattress product.
From the hundreds of entries, a woman from North Dakota was selected as the winner. Era Bell Thomspon, an African American 13-year-old daughter of the valet to the North Dakota governor, was the winner of the $25 bond after she submitted the winning name King Koil.
This name not only became the name of the new product, but became the identity of the company.
Forty years later, Edward Bronstein Jr., the president of the King Koil at the time, picked up a copy of Ebony magazine while waiting in a doctor’s office and spotted the name Era Bell Thompson in the masthead. He remembered her name from a company scrapbook. He knew he had to get in touch with this woman who had become the International Editor for Ebony.
He wrote her a letter, reminding her of the episode and received a warm and gracious reply. She thanked him again for the award and explained how the money had gone to further her education.
Shortly after the King Koil name was selected, an artist was hired to do a logo. A squiggly coiled body with a smiling face with a crown on top soon became the logo and the name King Koil became the trademark throughout the country and its future global licensing companies
Contents from Who Made My Bed? A true story. An old leather envelope reveals the true identity of a 19th century Russian immigrant who founded an international bedding business.