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Company History

A healthy goal

For more than four decades, Thomashilfen has been working towards making people feel better. Our goals are health, well being, and positive development, as well as helping people who suffer from disease or disability. We continuously strive to deliver excellence in care and rehabilitation. Thomashilfen employees are specialists when it comes to support, positioning, and above all, movement and mobility.

It all began with master carpenter Karl Thomas, who set up his own carpentry business in 1935 in Bremervörde in Lower Saxony, Northern Germany (which is also the location of today’s THOMAS group head office). His thriving business, adjoined to the Thomas family home, was disrupted as a result of the political developments at the time and the subsequent wartime events. Between 1940 and 1945, the
company came to a complete standstill.

In 1945, Karl Thomas returned from war captivity, resumed his carpentry business and in 1948 he bought a large plot of land in Walkmühlenstraße. Even before the currency reform, he began the first construction stage (400 m²) of a facility designed for the mass production of furniture.

The bed idea ...

In 1955, Karl Thomas and his son Wilfried Thomas, who at the time was a member of the management board of the family business, met a Swiss company that owned a patent for what was to be the basis for the development of a new type of bed. In 1956, envisioning a bed with optimal spring and spinal support, tailored to user’s needs and promoting restful sleep, the company introduced their Lattoflex product at the furniture trade fair in Cologne. This was the beginning of the first spring support in the world, that was to change sleep patterns in the
West, popularly known as the ‘slatted frame’.

Wilfried Thomas and his team further developed and optimized the concept. With its continuously growing international network of specialists, therapists, doctors, scientists and developers, as well as new technologies and materials, today’s THOMAS group of companies is the sleep expert in the international bed market!

Although today’s modern bed spring support systems have long replaced the slatted frame, the company is still synonymous with healthy sleep. Today’s Lattoflex bed by THOMAS is still the leading product in the market.

New directions ...

When the life of Karl Thomas and his wife, who was disabled by illness, underwent significant changes in the 1960s, his personal destiny gave rise to a new company goal. This marked the beginning of Thomashilfen. The furniture manufacturer recognized that the technology of the time provided relief only to a limited extent and more desirable aids were not available on the German market. Through his personal relationships with the Scandinavian countries, Karl Thomas knew that these nations took a leading position in dealing with disability,
with regards to both legislation and the manufacture of aids.

Thus, Karl Thomas managed to gain valuable information that allowed him to provide other people with helpful aids and knowledge. And so, partly at the insistence of friends and representatives in public life, gradually a consultation center for disabled people was set up in Bremervörde. Through his many contacts in Scandinavia, Karl Thomas was soon able to found his own company (wholesaler with exclusive distribution rights) that helped improve the lives of disabled people.

In the years that followed, Thomashilfen played a major part in the set-up and establishment of the German rehabilitation market and the formation of the world’s largest rehabilitation trade fair, REHACare in Düsseldorf. And so, in addition to the furniture market, the THOMAS group of companies established itself in a new market.

At the end of the 1990s, however, Thomashilfen decided to pursue a new direction. Taking into account the latest scientific findings, changing market conditions and new technologies, the company embraced the opportunity to develop its own innovative products and to market them worldwide.

The main focus was on product benefits for the user, rather than their function itself. The time had come to look at the patient as a person and to promote, support, and ultimately set in motion the process of rehabilitation and healing. This philosophy is what clearly distinguishes Thomashilfen from most competitors. And so the company succeeded in developing the unique Thevo product family, which is based on the principle of MiS Micro-Stimulation® therapy.

Based on the group of companies’ unique expertise in the area of sleep, the team of developers at THOMAS managed to develop the innovative Thevo products. The products automatically convert minor movements, even a patient’s breathing motions, into micro size counter movements. This, in turn, stimulates the patient, improves perception of body image, promotes mobility and, ultimately, the healing process.

Thomashilfen still finds it astonishing that, for instance, in the treatment of pressure ulcers, people in need of care still lie on airbeds just as they did 40 years ago, even though much better, more effective and cost saving product solutions are available today.

And as the main sleep expert in the rehabilitation market, Thomashilfen attaches particular importance to sleep quality in the development of their Thevo mattresses. Even though very few competitors are seriously committed in this area, healthy sleep is not just a basic human need. Healthy sleep also forms the foundation for successful rehabilitation and healing. Thomashilfen now develops beds, support and positioning systems specifically tailored to various medical indications (including dementia, Parkinson’s disease, pressure ulcers, pain, wheelchair users, children with Cerebral Palsy, autism and neuromuscular disorders.).

Making the impossible possible

For more than 40 years, Thomashilfen has been developing and marketing high-quality and effective products that help people improve their quality of life. So, over the years, Thomashilfen a third generation family business led by owner Gunnar Thomas, has become one of the leading brands in the international rehabilitation market.

A worldwide network of licensed distribution partners in more than 30 countries including our own company ExoMotion in Seattle, USA, ensures that Thomashilfen products are supplied quickly, directly, competently, and locally.

In addition, the interdisciplinary team of experts at the THOMAS group of companies, an alliances of 8 companies, ensures regular knowledge transfer. This provides Thomashilfen with the knowledge, technologies, energy, and vision to make the seemingly impossible possible.