The Great Nordic Inventions: Five products that put Scandinavia at the forefront of product design.

The Great Nordic Inventions

Amounting to over 26 million of the World’s population you would think that the Nordic countries have had some great discoveries and inventions over time and they definitely do! The Americans invented the remote control, The French invented the camera phone and the Germans invented the computer. Get to know five amazing Nordic inventions!

The Heart Rate Monitor

The heart rate monitor is a Finnish invention presented in 1977. Initially invented as a training aid for the Finnish National Cross Country Skiing team, the wireless heart rate monitor is a watch with built-in capability to record the pulse of the person who’s wearing it. The watches are widely used in fitness mainly for intensity and cardio training, as wearing the watch gives you the opportunity to see your current intensity. The invention was first sold by Finnish manufacturer Polar, based in mid-west Finland and 80 countries abroad, partly due of the success of the heart rate monitor.


Photo: Joebeon/Flickr Creative Commons

The Speaker

Peter Laurids Jensen was Danish but never had his big breakthrough in Denmark. He’s been called “The Danish Edison” and for good reasons. After working for the inventor of magnetic recording, Valdemar Poulsen, Peter L. Jensen moved to USA where he began to experiment as the pioneer he was and in 1915 he built the first coil loudspeaker. The single speaker Magnavox (meaning fantastic sound in Latin) was playing Christmas songs when it was first launched in San Francisco in front of 75.000 people on Christmas Eve.

Nordic inventions - speaker

Photo: Traaf/ Flickr Creative Commons

The Three-point Seat Belt

Sweden has over 33,500 patents as of 2007, amongst those is the three-point seat belt that is mandatory in most vehicles made today. The three-point seat belt is actually patented by the Americans but the Swedish inventor Nils Bohlin developed the modern form for (also Swedish manufacturer) Volvo. The innovative invention has demonstrated its effectiveness in several studies and has been saving lives in Sweden and worldwide since its introduction in 1959.


Photo: Drewwh/ Flickr Creative Commons

The Cheese Cutter

Most Nordic countries use the Norwegian cheese cutter (sold in IKEA) invented by Norwegian furniture maker Thor Bjørklund. He patented the “Ostehøvel” in 1925 and established a factory in Lillehammer. The kitchen tool was then developed further and in 1963 Danish Nils Jagd Jensen came up with a slightly different version: the double-stranded cheese slicers (sold in Tiger store). The Norwegian cheese cutter is widely used in other European countries like Switzerland, the Netherlands and Germany. You might have seen  – or own – both as they are essential cheese-tools.




The Tripp Trapp Chair

The Tripp Trapp chair is a familiar sight for all Nordic people. The chair was launched in 1972, designed by Norwegian Peter Opsvikk and has been sold over 5 million times to this day. The adjustable high chair is made by Stokke and designed to grow with children, suitable for babies (with tray and comfy cushion), toddlers and older kids. The chair has remained popular in the Nordic countries over the last 40 years and is virtually an iconic essential in every toddler family.

TrippTrapp chair nordic inventions


Want more Nordic inventions or design? Check out Nordic Style Mag’s New and cosy autumn products, browse though our Design category or follow us on Pinterest!

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