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George Sperti

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George Sperti
Sperti products are named after Dr. George Speri Sperti (1900-1991). Dr. Sperti graduated in 1923 with a degree in electrical engineering from the University of Cincinnati (UC), Ohio. He remained at UC as a research assistant where he led a research team in discovering the ultraviolet wavelengths that make vitamin D. He obtained numerous patents in selective radiation used to create vitamins, kill bacteria, preserve foods such as orange juice and he invented the Sperti sun-lamp and the Aspercreme for pain relief. In 1935 Dr. Sperti


school attracting international students. Following years of cancer research, the school discovered a cell derivative to stimulate healthy-cell growth. They named it Bio-Dyne, from the Greek words bios (life) and dyne (force) and used it in Sperti Ointment for haemorrhoid treatment, later renamed to Preparation H.

founded the Institutum Divi Thomae (IDT), a tuition-free research

Sperti Sunlamp

Sperti Sunlamp
As a result of his work at UC Dr. Sperti founded Sperti Sunlamp in Cincinnati to manufacture ultraviolet bulbs and appliances for the general public. From 1933 on Sperti Sunlamp produced 100-Watt screw-in bulbs consisting of a tungsten filament and a small low-pressure mercury vapour arc device, a so-called blended lamp. The lamps were primarily used as reading lamps. They did not produce a tan but were intended to provide the user with full spectrum, healthful radiation for everyday use.

Science Laboratories

Science Laboratories
In 1937 the production of full spectrum bulbs was discontinued and replaced by medium-pressure, mercury vapour, arc lamps intended to produce a tan. During this era the sunlamp company was called Science Laboratories, Inc. At this point, Dr. Sperti's IDT pioneered developmental data supporting Vitamin D production in human skin when exposed to ultraviolet radiation.

Sperti Products

Sperti Products
In 1939 the name of the company was changed to Sperti Products, making both medicine and sun-lamps. Soon the lamp making business outgrew the initial facilities and was relocated to larger quarters in Cincinnati. The ultraviolet tube was changed to what is called a high-pressure mercury vapour arc lamp and this type of product became Sperti's primary product.


In 1942 the name of the company was changed to Sperti, Inc. During the war years Sperti manufactured various instruments for the U.S. Navy and U.S. Air Force (bombsites, mercury switches, distance sites and gauges). The only tanning lamps manufactured during the war were for military purposes. After the war commercial production was resumed.

Sperti Faraday

Sperti Faraday
In 1949 Sperti purchased Faraday, Inc. (Adrian, Michigan), a manufacturing company that produced fire alarm equipment. Sperti, Inc. was


split up in Sperti Drug Co. and Sperti Faraday, Inc. and under this name both the fire alarm and the sun-lamp products were produced. The ultraviolet tubes were continued to be

produced in Cincinnati and shipped to Adrian for final appliance assembly.


Cooper Hewitt

the Cooper Hewitt link
Peter Cooper Hewitt (1861-1921) devoted his adult life to scientific experimentation and -investigation. One of his major inventions was the Cooper Hewitt lamp, a low-pressure mercury vapour arc lamp that produced an intense, cool, bluish-green light. For lighting purposes the lack of red in the spectrum limited its applications but the bright light made it suitable for industrial lighting and -applications. Photo studios made extensive use of Cooper Hewitt lamps. In an age of black and white film, the colour of a photographer's light made little


Cooper Hewitt Electric Co. in Hoboken, New Jersey in 1902. Ultimately, Cooper Hewitt lamps proved cumbersome to use however. The necessary electrical ballast was heavy, each individual lamp had to be ignited manually and the lamps each contained as much as a pound of mercury. Newly developed tungsten filament incandescent lamps in the

vapour arc lamp began. Designed in Europe, this lamp and the fluorescent lamps that followed used only a fraction of the mercury Cooper Hewitt lamps did, but produced light much more efficiently. In 1950 Sperti Faraday purchased the Cooper Hewitt Electric Company and in 1954 Sperti Faraday's sun-lamp tube production was moved from Cincinnati to the Cooper Hewitt plant in Hoboken.


1910's provided almost as much light as the mercury tubes but with a much better colour. General Electric bought the Cooper Hewitt Company in 1919 and in 1933 marketing a new mercury

difference and the amount of light was most important. Together with George Westinghouse, Peter Cooper Hewitt founded the


Sperti Sunlamp

Sperti Sunlamp again
In 1958 all production and assembly was centralised in the former Cooper Hewitt location at Hoboken, New Jersey. The former


Faraday assembly location at Adrian, Michigan was sold. Between 1963 and 1965 the remainder of the Faraday activities, together with the old Cooper Hewitt location at Hoboken, were sold and all sun-lamp production was moved to Fort Mitchell, Kentucky where manufacturing continued under the name Sperti Sunlamp again. Through the


1970's, and early 1980's, Sperti Sunlamp enjoyed a dominant position as a profitable supplier of products to the home market. In addition to high sales volumes and a record of profitability, Sperti Sunlamp's customer list included the top 3 catalogue sales organisations in North America (Service Merchandise, Sears, and J.C. Penney). The by Dr. Sperti

founded Institutum Divi Thomae was renamed to St. Thomas Institute in 1968. It stopped teaching and granting degrees in 1987 but research continued.



In 1991 George Sperti died and Sperti Sunlamp was purchased by KBD, Inc., Crescent Springs, Kentucky. KBD continued to sell and improve Sperti Sunlamp- and Cooper Hewitt Electric branded ultraviolet products for the health and beauty markets. In 2006 KBD reintroduced the D/UV appliance designed for the production of Vitamin D in the human body. KBD further expanded the product line to include appliances for the treatment of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).