We Are Sunshine

Sunbed Inventor Friedrich Wolff Dies at the Age of 85

Tuesday, April 11th, 2023

From Bundesfachverband Besonnung e. V.

The Bundesfachverband Besonnung e.V. takes leave of its founding member and inventor of the tanning bed, Mr. Friedrich Wolff.

It is with great regret that we have received the news of the death of our founding member, Mr. Friedrich Wolff.

Friedrich Wolff launched the world’s first sunbed in 1975. His initial motivation was to imitate sunlight and thus counteract winter depression plus to create a place to recharge your batteries and stimulate the intake of vitamin D formation.

On November 30, 1984, he participated as a founding member in the inaugural meeting of the association PHOTOMED – Verband Photomedizin und Besonnung e. V. In the course, he was elected 2nd Chairman, alongside The 1st Chairman, the Herbolzheim physician Prof. Dr. Alfred Schroedter. He remained associated with the work of the association for many years after his active retirement, and even then he was committed to professionalizing the industry out of firm personal conviction. He never tired of talking about the biopositive effects of natural and artificial sun in many lectures throughout Germany and beyond its borders. At the same time, early on and as the owner of Wolff System GmbH, based in Freiburg, he initiated research projects at prestigious university clinics with the aim of using the existing biopositive effects of tanning to alleviate skin diseases, such as psoriasis. The projects led him to Professor Dr. sc. med. Hans Meffert, who unfortunately died in March 2022, at the Charité, then still based in East Berlin. Among other things, Prof. Meffert was awarded the Arnold Rikli Prize in 1991 for his work in the field of photomedicine.

His demand for an “industry academy” was met in 1992 with the founding of the “Academy for Tanning.”  The “Akademie für Besonnung e. V. (AfB)” was founded in 1992 by his brother Jörg Wolff and the other board members of the existing operator and manufacturer associations PHOTOMED – Photomedizin und Besonnung, the Bundesfach-verband Sonnenlichtsysteme (SLS) and the Fortbildungswerk Sonnenlicht-Systeme (FBS). Until the introduction of the UV Protection Ordinance in 2012, the AfB was the only recognized training academy for tanning salon operators for twenty years.

We mourn the loss of an empathetic man and relentless tinkerer who not only laid the foundation of our Tanning industry, but was always committed to the responsible and professional use of his invention.

Our deepest sympathy goes to his family and all relatives.

The Executive Board
Bundesfachverband Besonnung e. V.