The Dunlop Design
Dunlop is the traditional method of latex manufacturing which has been used since 1929. The latex sap is whipped into a froth with a gelling agent, poured into a mold, covered and steam baked in a vulcanization oven. This creates a chemical reaction that results in the latex taking its final form. The rubber is washed thoroughly which allows it to keep buoyant and long lasting. Traditionally, the natural sediments in the mixture tend to settle on the bottom of the mold, which makes Dunlop slightly more-firm on the bottom side and gives the core a cake like feel. Many Dunlop processors still use this traditional method.
The Talalay Design
Talalay is a newer method of preparing latex, which adds 2 additional steps to the process. The latex is whipped into a froth, injected into an aluminum pin-core mold, and is then vacuum sealed. The latex mold is then flash-frozen and infused with carbon dioxide, which prevents the particles from settling and results in a more consistent cell structure. The latex foam is then baked to cure the foam.
Why Dunlop Arpico
The supplier for our Ergovea mattresses uses the Dunlop method when they make our cores, but with a slight modification, to make the cores feel less like traditional Dunlop and more like the perfect place to sleep. It has the most consistent quality and does not have any seams. The Dunlop process creates a mattress that is firm and durable while the natural latex continues to hold its elasticity. The end result of Dunlop rubber is 100% natural, while Talalay is only organic (its process adds chemicals into the mattress and creates a large carbon footprint). Using Arpico allows 2,500 rubber trees to employ eight people, produce one queen mattress a day, and removes 143 metric tons of carbon dioxide from the air.
Now that you know the facts you may be wondering - how does it feel?
If you have spent any time looking for a natural rubber mattress, you have heard the arguments for and against the two different types of natural rubber latex, including our own argument above. Of the two varieties, Dunlop and Talalay, both have their fans, and each of the groups will argue the merits of their preferred latex passionately. Generally, the argument is that Dunlop latex is more firm, and that Talalay latex is softer.
We have heard this argument so many times, that it became something we believed, and would repeat when talking to customers or other industry professionals. It’s just a given that Talalay is softer than Dunlop, isn’t it?
When we started prototyping our own line of natural mattresses, we tried so many different types of latex, different levels of firmness, and configurations that they all started to blend together. We finally found a mattress core that felt amazing. It was soft and consistent. It felt supple and supportive, and really, really good. We could imagine building our mattress line around this core. We were convinced it was the right one.
And then we found out: it’s Dunlop.