The world’s first sleeping bag?


Over the weekend, I was intrigued to read a BBC report about the “Euklisia Rug“, a Welsh invention that’s claimed to have been the world’s first sleeping bag.

A 2010 report notes:

The Euklisia rug – patented by Powys entrepreneur Sir Pryce Jones in 1876 – was exported around the world in the late 19th Century.

No examples of it survive, but researchers on the BBC’s Wales and the History of the World programme recreated it using the original patent.

Documents in Powys archives in Llandrindod Wells show Pryce Jones sold 60,000 rugs to the Russian army.

BBC Wales researchers have also found records of the rug in the Australian outback, and at missionary posts in the Congo.

Wales and the History of the World presenter Eddie Butler said: “It was great to see this Welsh first brought back to life.

“It didn’t look anything like a sleeping bag today – it’s more of a folded rug. But you can see it only needed a couple of fasteners to be more recognisable as a sleeping bag.

“However simple it is, it must have been a great bonus for troops – especially in places like Russia. I expect this Welsh invention helped thousands of soldiers to get a better night’s sleep.”

The rug featured a sewn-in blow up pillow, which would probably have been made of vulcanised rubber.

There’s more at the link.

An advertisement from Pryce Jones to sell surplus Euklisia Rugs to the public has survived.

Brown Patent


Rug or Blanket


2 Yards and 11 Inches Long


1 Yard and 31 Inches Wide


3/11 EACH


Made for the Russian Army

Pryce Jones has the honor of calling the special attention of Ladies to the following.

He has on hand seventeen thousand Brown Army Blankets (fitted with an air tight pillow, as per sketch above) which were expressly made for the Russian Army. These are the remains of a Contract of Sixty thousand, delivery of which was to have taken place at the rate of 6,000 per week. Plevna fell, and the order was cancelled. These goods have remained in his possession ever since, carefully packed in bales of fifties.

P.J. proposes to clear off the lot at a great sacrifice – he intends removing the air tight pillows and sewing up the slot, the space may, if required, be refilled with a pillow of feathers, wool, cotton or straw, and may in this manner, be utilized for the poor – being a bed and blanket combined.

These are much wider and longer than ordinary rugs.

These Blankets may, if desired, be obtained with the patent pillow attached, the cost of each rug would then be 3/- more than price named above.

As P.J. offers these goods under cost of production, he solicits and hopes to receive early orders.

Royal Warehouse

Newtown, N. Wales.

Considering how many nights I’ve spent in sleeping bags, military and civilian, it’s interesting to find out where the concept had its beginning.  If you’d like to learn more about the history of sleeping bags, see here for some interesting pictures.



  1. Props to Mr. Jones on his successful trademark/patent claim, but roll-up bed rolls (water proofed or otherwise) have been well documented for many years longer than his claim would lead readers to believe; see here for only one source:

    A length of sturdy material wide enough to contain two or more wool blankets between a doubled length of the exterior material (with an extra length to fold over the head and shoulders during rain/snow) is effectively identical to what the linked-to article claims as Mr. Jones' patent description.

    Perhaps we can anticipate this info appearing in an up coming western novel, an evening campfire discussion perhaps.

  2. @Will Brown: I think the difference in Mr. Jones' patent is that he sewed the edges together to make a bag. Previous bedrolls had left the blankets and other coverings loose, to be folded double over the occupant, but not fastened together except by snaps on the outer tarpaulin.

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