Way back when, there was no such thing as an indoor bathroom. That meant keeping a chamber pot under the bed to answer the call of nature without going to the outhouse in the snow during the night.
The ony discreet place to keep that chamber put was under the bed.
Aren't you glad for indoor plumbing?
Bed heights weren't necessarily higher in the old days but heights did vary more because people generally built their own furniture.
Beds were higher because people kept suitcases under them as they were always on the move during the depression years when rent money meant moving on all the time.
You can see these high beds in old comedies like Laurel & Hardy.
It was cold and drafty down next to the floor back in the those days. Many rooms and/or houses had fire places...Heat will rise towards the ceiling so the higher the bed the warmer it became for those sleeping on it....
Beds were generally higher to put distance between the sleeper, and the hard cold drafty floor. It also offered a place to store things out of sight.
The floor consealed a trap door and the bed was put over it. The residents could flee down to the basement incase of a storm.
Often in smaller homes in my area the inside cellar door access was a trap door. You could enter the home from the basement entrance. The homes were built right around WWI and the early 1920's this way.
The floor door also meant extra useable space because a regular verticle inside entrance to the basement is like 4ft wide and 6 to 8ft long
Keeping the bed over the trap door kept visitors from walking on it.
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