Commercial Tanning Beds

Fredrich Wolff is credited with bringing the first commercial tanning beds to the United States in 1978. He applied for and received a patent for the particular system he touted and he licensed other companies with permission to use his technology. He himself didn’t actually discover the ultraviolet (UV) ray emitting qualities of the lights, however.

Without even considering such an invention as commercial tanning beds, a company in Germany, Heraeus, discovered the tanning effect of lamps designed for indoor use in 1903. The discovery came quite by accident as the company was working to develop lighting systems for home and industrial usage. High-pressure metal halide lamps were being developed to generate visible light when the invisible, tanning, ultraviolet emissions were detected, too.

By the 1920s, Heraeus had invented the forerunner of today’s commercial tanning beds and was marketing it as a tanning and wellness device. This prototype of today’s commercial tanning beds was a single lamp attached to a freestanding structure. The concept of attaching more than one high-pressure lamp led to the manufacture during the 1970s of devices holding multiple lamps, much more similar to the commercial tanning beds we’re familiar with today.

It was this evolution of modern commercial tanning beds that Fredrich Wolff introduced to America in the 1970s. His Wolff Systems were state of the art for commercial tanning beds and other manufacturers adapted his technologies for their own use. Wolff eventually sold his company to his brother, Jorg, who is considered another pioneer in the now-booming industry of commercial tanning beds.

During this manufacturing evolutionary period, different forms of light and electronics technologies were studied and developed. Some options that are in use in commercial tanning beds today include magnetic and European choke systems and electronic and high frequency light emissions. Regardless of the technology employed, all lamps in commercial tanning beds are fluorescents that use special phospors that produce a spectrum of UV light rays that mimic sunshine.

Mr. Wolff’s original patent has expired and his technological advances are available to anyone choosing to use them. His reputation has become so highly respected that, even today, salons rely on his name recognition when using his commercial tanning beds and related products.

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