The historical subtext of Bluetooth: why the data transmission system got such a name

Bluetooth Logo Meaning

As it turned out, Bluetooth is directly related to the Vikings and the 10th century.

When you see a famous logo, how often do you think about its meaning and additional information hidden behind the image? Bluetooth is a part of our daily life, especially with the advent of wireless devices. But as it turned out, the name and logo of the wireless data transmission standard hide historical implications.

The name of the standard is nothing more than the name of the Viking king Harald Bluetooth. Historians distinguish three versions of an interesting nickname. The first says that the king loved blueberries, and for this reason, his teeth became pathological blue. Other sources state that Harald had a dark front tooth, and during Viking times, the word “blå” was used to refer to black. The third version says that the king was dark-haired and dark-skinned from birth, not typical for the Vikings. He received the nickname “Chernyavenky,” and the English chroniclers decided not to break the language with Scandinavian names and came up with a consonant name.

Developers Sven Mattisson and Jim Kardach thought for a long time about a suitable name for the project. The late 1990s was a period of active emergence of startups, especially in the field of technology. They wanted to stand out and grab the attention of users and investors.

Nordic runes Harald Bluetooth Logo

The men talked “over a beer” and discussed possible options. Jim Kardach, at the time, was reading The Long Ships, a historical Viking novel by Frans G. Bengtsson. King Harald Bluetooth is best known for the unification of Norway and Denmark. Since Bluetooth is used to transfer data between devices, the developers saw a parallel and decided to stay with a symbolic name.

Not only the name but also the logo of the device hides a little secret. Perhaps you thought the image was meant to represent an insect, butterfly, or graphic symbols. These are the Viking king’s combined initials: ᚼ (H) and ᛒ (B).

Recently, the history of the logo and name began to spread among users on social networks actively. No one even suspected such an additional context, and people were pleasantly surprised by such details from the standard wireless history.