Bluetooth technology is a useful tool that has become quite a staple in the 21st century. But have you ever wondered why the heck it’s called that?

We decided to explore the name’s origin story, which goes back a millennium before this technology was developed in the late 1990s.

Apparently the idea came from a member of the Bluetooth invention team ― an Intel mobile computing engineer named Jim Kardach. According to Kardach’s account, he was reading a book about vikings at the time and drew inspiration from a particular historical figure.

“Bluetooth was borrowed from the 10th-century, second king of Denmark, King Harald Bluetooth; who was famous for uniting Scandinavia just as we intended to unite the PC and cellular industries with a short-range wireless link,” he recalled in a 2008 article for EE Times.

This gilt plaque is believed to depict King Harald Bluetooth's baptism in the 10th century. 

This gilt plaque is believed to depict King Harald Bluetooth’s baptism in the 10th century. 

Indeed, Harald Bluetooth Gormsson (aka Harald Blåtand Gormsson) ruled as king of Denmark in the mid- to late 900s. Many credit him with bringing Christianity to what was previously a pagan region, as well as uniting different leaders in nonviolent negotiations.

The Bluetooth logo is a combination of the initials ‘H’ and ‘B’ written in Scandinavian runes.

The Bluetooth logo stems from Scandinavian runes. 

The Bluetooth logo stems from Scandinavian runes. 

For those who wish the origin of “Bluetooth” had something to do with teeth that are blue, you may be in luck. Some sources have theorized that the Scandinavian king was called “Blåtand,” AKA “Bluetooth,” because he had a dead, bluish tooth (though others have suggested that “Bluetooth” is a bad translation of “Blåtand,” which could have referred to a dark-skinned man).

Although “Bluetooth” was initially only supposed to be a placeholder code name for the tech project, it wound up sticking. Thus, Bluetooth technology and Nordic history will forever be linked.

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