Fredrick M. “Fred” Wolff


DOB:  1910 Location:  
DOD:  1999          Location:  Morristown, NJ




  • Phillips Academy, Andover MA (1928)
  • Yale University Sheffield School of Science, BS in Electrical Engineering  (1932)
  • Yale University School of Drama, MFA (1935) Editor’s note: Mr. Wolf was the Chair of student branch of AIEE.  He often told the story that he was referred to by class mates at the School Of Drama as one of the “over specialized and under cultured engineers.”

Employment history:

  • Project Engineer, Commercial Engineering Department, Westinghouse Lamp Division, Bloomfield, NJ Editor’s note: Westinghouse developed state-of-the-art, remote-controlled, reactor dimming systems for Severance Hall, Radio City Music Hall, and the old Metropolitan Opera House (1935-1937)
  • Lieutenant U.S. Naval Reserve, Ordnance Ship Superintendent & Executive Officer Ordnance Supply Depot, Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard (1942-1946) Editor’s note: Mr. Wolff continued in the Naval Reserve after the war until his retirement at the rank of Captain (1970)
  • Lured to Century Lighting by Louis Erhardt to become Chief Engineer (1937-1942 and 1946-1964) Editor’s note: Century eventually took on the license to manufacture the Izenour electronic lighting control system (demonstrated in 1941 at the old “Squash Court” Laboratory at Yale); George Izenour later said that is was due to Mr. Wolff’s very thorough and conservative approach to engineering that “Fred made the system practical”
  • Vice President of Engineering and Construction, Century Lighting, Inc. (1964-1969)
  • Interim President of Century-Strand Lighting (1969)
  • Independent Consultant, Lighting and Lighting Control Systems (1969-1988)


  • Author, Electric Means for Varying the Intensity of an Incandescent Lamp, (Master’s thesis), Yale School of Drama (1935)
  • Co-author with Stanley McCandless, “Electrical Control for Varying Lighting Intensities,” IES Transactions, and presented at the Illuminating Engineering Society’s annual conference (1936)
  • Author, A New Trend in Window Display Lighting, published by Century Lighting, Inc. (1937)
  • Author, Numerous articles for IES Transactions and other magazines
  • Prepared slides for 1st sale of “Theatre Orientation Package” Editor’s note: This was one of USITT’s first educational outreach projects.
  • Edited and Prepared for publication “Studies in the Projection of Light” and “Optical Characteristics of Ellipsoidal Reflectors”

USITT Involvement and Offices Held:

  • Board of Directors
  • Chair, Engineering Commission, 1975-1979) Editor’s note: This was one of the most productive tenures of any commission.  Mr. Wolff held monthly meetings in the Belmont Board Room of the Metropolitan Opera House (courtesy of USITT Fellow Rudy Kuntner), attracting 30 to 40 members each month for presentation of “specialist” papers.
  • Associate Editor for Technical Reports, Theatre Design & Technology, (1975-1988)

Awards and Honors:

  • Elected USITT Fellow (1977)
  • USITT Joel E. Rubin Founders Award (1986)
  • Board of Directors, IES New York Section, 2 years