So Minnesota: James Elwell, the man behind the mattress

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As we head to bed at night, we should remember a Minnesotan who has helped us all get a good night’s sleep.

In 1872 while growing up in Minneapolis, James Elwell was only 16 when he invented and patented a bedspring with a wire mesh.

The invention is still used to this day.

“It’s kind of a great story,” Orville Lindquist with the Blaine Historical Society said. “He found a need, met the need, and had an opportunity with his family that could manufacture is invention.”

Money from the invention allowed Elwell to open the Minneapolis Furniture Company.

Elwell went into land and later become a state senator promoting parks and roads.

“He was a proponent of building good roads throughout the state,” Lindquist said. “By 1915, he caused a thousand miles of highway to be built in Minnesota.” Elwell died in 1933.