White Noise Evolution: From Sleepmate to Dohm

Some of you may be surprised to learn that the Marpac Dohm wasn't always the Dohm. But, like all good things, our iconic Dohm white noise machine has evolved over the years. Invented by our founder J.K. Buckwalter in 1962, the “sleep-inducing sound-producing device” was originally dubbed the SleepMate, and marketed as a natural sleep tool to “cover up all those nerve-wracking noises with a breezy continuing SWOOSH.” The SleepMate (or Sleep-Mate) was formally submitted for a patent in 1963, and nearly 6 million units have sold over the decades, thanks in part to being popular in gift catalogs like Hammacher Schlemmer.

In 2010, we decided it was time for us to adapt to changing times, so we gave the SleepMate a newer and more contemporary name. Our hard-working sleep machine giving it a mini-makeover without touching any of its patented inner workings or features. With a little inspiration taken from yoga, the SleepMate became the Dohm (just saying the name is relaxing!)

Marpac White Noise Machine History

  • 1962: Marpac founder J.K. Buckwalter creates the first white noise machine in Wilmington, NC
  • 1963: The SleepMate makes its debut in Hammacher Schlemmer catalog
  • 1989: The long-standing SleepMate 500 and 900 series are upgraded to newer models
  • 1997: The SleepMate evolves again, debuting a user-friendly switch and modern design elements
  • 2005: The SleepMate updates to a modern-day rocker switch, or "e-switch"
  • 2010: The Dohm is born, and the SleepMate name is retired after years of service
  • 2012: The one-millionth sound machine is sold!
  • 2016: The Dohm gets a redesign with help from Michael Graves Design

Despite small updates throughout the years, the spirit of the original SleepMate white noise machine lives on in all of our natural sound devices -- from the Dohm, Dohm Classic, and Dohm Uno -- and continues to fill bedrooms (and more) around the world with soothing, uninterrupted white noise. Since the 1960s all of our Dohm sound machines are hand-assembled and checked for quality at our North Carolina-based factory, so you can rest easy knowing your Marpac white noise machine will last you for years to come.

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