Is Bluetooth A Gift From The Vikings?

Since its launch in the early 2000s, Bluetooth has been one of the most trusted wireless technologies. Considered a pioneer of connectivity, Bluetooth’s namesake is another important figure of ancient Viking history, King Harald “Bluetooth” Gormsson. Its iconic and widely familiar logo too tells the story of Nordic culture. Bluetooth is the genius of the founders of the Bluetooth SIG ( Special Interest Group ) and its name and visuals suggest their genius of creation.

Who was King Harald Bluetooth?

King Harald Gormsson ( Old Norse : Haraldr Gormsson; Danish: Harald Blåtand Gormsen ) was an ancient ruler of Denmark and Norway. Ruling from c. 958 – c. 986, he was known for his outstanding diplomatic skills and for uniting the tribes of Denmark against various differences, into a single kingdom.. His conversion to Christianity seems to have promoted the conversion of a large number of Danes into Christians, and he is known to have ordered the construction of the oldest bridge in southern Scandinavia, known as the Ravning Bridge.

Did You Know That 'Bluetooth' Goes Back To The 'Vikings'?
Harald being baptized by Poppo the monk, in a relief dated to c. 1200 via Wikipedia

Myths suggest that he got the nickname “Bluetooth” after his teeth were stained blue due to munching a lot of his favourite blueberries. Another story also hints at one of his teeth being blue and dark – ‘a dead tooth’ – due to decay which must have invited the nickname.

Who suggested the name Bluetooth?

Jim Kardach, one of the founders of the Bluetooth SIG, suggested the codename for their project program in a 1996 presentation. He talked at length later where he explained that he got the idea during his conversation with Sven Mattinson about Scandinavian history and Norse mythology. He was greatly inspired by King Harald and his idea of unification, which matched with their project’s motives. 

Did You Know That 'Bluetooth' Goes Back To The 'Vikings'?
Wikimedia Commons/Intel Free Press

Kardach had presented a PowerPoint foil which presented Harald holding a cell phone in one hand and a notebook in another. It was a modern interpretation of an ancient image of Harald Bluetooth rune stone which was given in Gwyn Jones’s ‘History of the Vikings’.

What’s up with the logo?

Did You Know That 'Bluetooth' Goes Back To The 'Vikings'?

The logo of Bluetooth just looks like a flashy B at one look. However, it is actually a superimposition of two characters of Futhark runes. These are the initials of King Harald Gormsson, Runic letter ᚼ, Hagall and Runic letter ᛒ, Bjarkan, creating a bindrune.

Stunned at the curious history of Bluetooth? Find out how the British Museum got its artifacts for some extra surprise!


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