The Surprising Viking Origins of Bluetooth

by | 06th February 2024

I’m a sponge of quite interesting trivia and have the sort of mind that retains what may seem like junk to many people.

Anyway, the other day, I learned about how Bluetooth came about. It wasn’t so much the technical stuff that caught my interest, but rather how the name came about in the first place. In fact, I was going to save it up for 1st April 2024 as a kind of bluff / double bluff kind of gag (and decided to tell you now rather than wait).

And here’s why: Bluetooth technology was named after Harald Bluetooth, a Viking king who died over 1000 years ago. The origin of Harald Bluetooth’s nickname is debated; some sources suggest he loved blueberries, staining his teeth. While this makes for a good old yarn, it’s unlikely since blueberries originate from North America, which hadn’t been colonized by Europeans in the 970s. More likely, a dead tooth caused a dark blue hue in his smile, hence Harald Bluetooth. He unified factions of Denmark with those in Norway, similar to how today’s technology unifies different electronic devices. And it goes a bit further.

The Bluetooth logo combines the Nordic runes for his initials – H.B – as in the image below: Bluetooth.

Bluetooth Runes

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