The Viking Origins of The Bluetooth Symbol and Name

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By now, we all should have had some form of interaction with ‘Bluetooth’ or at least know what it is. From the times we saw fancy businessmen walk with a funny earpiece saying “sorry I am just on a call” to you secretly sending music from your brother’s phone to yours via Bluetooth. But, do you know why it is called Bluetooth?

Well, it is a modern story with a Viking twist to it. You see when Jim Kardach was asked to develop wireless technology for laptop computers at Intel, he was reading The Long Ships (1941-1945), a historical adventure novel about Vikings that features King Harald Bluetooth, the king who ruled over all tribes in Denmark from the year 958 and then managed to conquer parts of Norway, making all the different tribes communicate and unite.

As Jim Kardach developed the technology and managed to enable different kinds of devices to communicate wirelessly, he called it Bluetooth, because the technology and King Bluetooth had the same purpose — unity and communication among different groups.

Bluetooth Symbol

The Bluetooth logo is also quite simple but beautiful. It is the combination of “H” and “B,” the initials of Harald Bluetooth, written in the ancient letters used by Vikings, which are called “runes.” Separated, we find two distinct symbols, one representing the runes of ‘Hagal’ (ᚼ) and the other of ‘Bjarkan’ (ᛒ) – basically, the initials ‘H’ and ‘B’

The merging of these two runic letters has a double meaning. Firstly, it represents the initials of the monarch from whom the term ‘Bluetooth’ is derived, but the merging also signifies the connection between two devices – the essence of Bluetooth technology.

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Shaun Zietsman

Blogger and Content Creator from Johannesburg, South Africa.

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