The Origins of the Duvet

by Halcyon Dreams Australian Wool Quilts Online

Take a look in any Australian home and you’ll probably find more than one duvet or quilt. It’s become one of the most popular ways to keep us snug and cosy as we sleep. We rarely use a combination of sheets, blankets and coverlets on our beds, preferring the ease and convenience of a duvet. Whether you want to call it a quilt, duvet or doona – the item of bedding we are referring to here is a large bed covering that contains a filling of some kind and which covers the whole of the bed.

While each bed topping does have its differences – the term has generally become interchangeable.  So, you may have a polyester quilt in your home, a wool doona or maybe even a duck down filled duvet but generally speaking, they all serve the same purpose.

Where did the Duvet originate?

Some historians suggest that the Chinese were the first people to use a duvet type bed covering way back in around 3000BC although there isn’t any real evidence of that. However, we do know that the Germans have been using duvets for centuries. Perhaps the first recorded confirmation of the use of duvets as bed coverings was in the late 17th century when Paul Rycaut brought the German duvet to England. Another English traveller, Thomas Nugent observed that European families used quilted covers on their beds. During Victoria’s reign, the duck down filled bed covering often called an Eiderdown (after the breed of duck) was commonplace throughout England although these were used in conjunction with blankets.


The Popularity of the Duvet


By the 1970s many homes in Britain started to replace their traditional blankets or eiderdowns with a duvet. Made popular by Sir Terence Conran of the homeware store, Habitat, who brought them from Sweden to England in 1964, they were marketed as the ’10-second bed’. Rather than having to make a bed with sheets, blankets and a coverlet or topper, you simply had to arrange the duvet over your bottom sheet. The duvet soon became known as the ‘continental quilt’ rather than duvet.


Duvets or quilts are now filled with all kinds of material from synthetics fibres such as polyester and Dacron to natural fillings such as traditional duck down, feathers and wool. In Australia we like to use wool from sheep to make our doonas, although alpaca wool is becoming an increasingly popular choice of filling. Today, new processing techniques have brought about the washable wool doona which can be easily cleaned in a washing machine rather than having to be professionally dry cleaned.


And just in case you were wondering where the term ‘doona’ came from – it appears that a company called Kimptons first used this term to describe their woollen quilts – in fact, they even trademarked it. The word ‘doona’ comes from the Scandinavian word for quilt, ‘dyne’ so it’s not Australian in origin at all!


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About Halcyon Dreams Junior   Australian Wool Quilts Online

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Created on Aug 26th 2020 05:05. Viewed 143 times.


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