My Journey with Earl Kluft: Revitalizing Aireloom Mattress

Two people collaborating on rebuilding Aireloom Mattress, focusing on quality and innovation at the factory.

I haven't smoked weed with Willie, but I made mattresses with Earl Kluft.

It must have been about 20 years ago that I had the pleasure of working with the legendary Earl Kluft, right after he purchased Aireloom Mattress in California. Aireloom was a very high-end mattress manufacturer that originated in El Monte, California. It was founded by another industry legend, King Karpen. Mr. Karpen passed away in 1992, and after his death, the company was sold by his estate. Unfortunately, the company went into decline due to the loss of the leadership that Mr. Karpen provided, in my opinion.

Earl Kluft had sold his Spring Air factory in the City of Industry in the early 2000s and was the perfect person to buy Aireloom and rebuild the brand. I came into the picture because my family business was building a mattress for Long’s Bedding in NYC. I left the family business in 2002 and was living in California, not too far from the Aireloom factory in Ontario, California. Earl was attempting to duplicate a mattress that I had designed a few years previously. They were struggling a bit with the duplication process. Earl was told by a vendor that I was in the area, so he called me and invited me over to the Aireloom factory to see if I could help.

On the day of our first meeting, we went out to the factory floor and built one of these mattresses. Long story short, he offered me a consulting contract to help him with the entire rebuild of the Aireloom product line. We spent the next few months working 12 hours a day on this project. Earl was amazing at selecting fabrics for these new Aireloom mattresses. He had a keen eye for quality and detail, reminiscent of a master tailor crafting bespoke suits. He was also excellent at purchasing the right machines we needed to produce these products on a larger scale.

My forte was mostly focused on the inside of the mattress. We used a pocket spring that I helped design at the old Holland Wire Spring plant in Holland, Michigan. We called it the 882 XTZ, which had an extra turn in the coil with higher gauge wire in the center third, making it more supportive in the middle where most of the weight of the person requires better support.

In conclusion, it was a great experience working with Earl Kluft back in those days. Collaborating with someone who had such a profound understanding of both the art and science of mattress making was truly inspiring.