Q: For years my family has owned an antique spool bed (the kind with spool-turned head and foot boards). Everyone always called it a “Jenny Lind bed.” Please tell me why.
A: Jenny Lind (1820-1887) was a world-famous opera singer known as the “Swedish Nightingale.” She became a huge celebrity in the United States when she toured here in 1850-52 at the invitation of P.T. Barnum, a master promoter. American advertisers used her to promote everything from hats and gloves to pianos and beds. Lind is said to have slept in a spool-turned bed while on the tour—so furniture makers started calling the popular style a “Jenny Lind bed.” The style is still often advertised that way.