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Norwegian inventions

On your Norway cruise, you'll experience plenty of natural and cultural beauty. However, there's also room to see all kinds of technological innovation in Norway's past, present and future.

On your Norway cruise, you'll experience plenty of natural and cultural beauty. However, there's also room to see all kinds of technological innovation in Norway's past, present and future. To round out your picture of the country, take a look at these inventions from Norway:

The cheese slicer

Though it's a humble invention, the cheese slicer has certainly improved many a dinner party. It was invented and patented by the carpenter Thor Bjorklund of Lillehammer in 1925. Bjorklund was annoyed by how difficult cheese was to cut properly with a knife, so he created something a lot like a carpenter's plane to cut it more pleasantly. The tool cuts hard cheeses very well, in addition to potatoes and other vegetables. It's difficult or impossible to get a cheese slicer outside of Norway, so if you find one on your cruise, make sure to snatch it up and bring it back.

Aerosol spray cans

The Aerosol spray can, though no longer in use due to environmental concerns, was a Norwegian original. Chemical engineer Erik Rotheim received a patent for it in 1926 in Oslo, selling it to an American company a bit later. Because Aerosol cans are propelled by chlorofluorocarbon, which is known as CFC and is harmful to the ozone layer, this invention is out-of-date. It's still a big one, though - imagine the hairstyles of the middle of last century without the power of Aerosol cans full of hairspray.

Paper clip

It's a matter of some debate whether Norway or the U.S. originated the paper clip, but don't bring that up in Norway. In the 1890s, Norwegian patent clerk Johann Vaaler invented the paper clip, which, in this case, was a wire with triangular or square ends and two component arms. He patented this invention in Germany and then in the U.S. William Middlebrook, a Connecticut resident, patented the paper clip in the modern shape in 1899, leading to the contention about which country really invented the ever-present office supply.

Mineral fertilizer

Kristian Birkeland of the University of Oslo was working in 1903 on an electromagnetic cannon. Unfortunately, it failed spectacularly - but it did create a gigantic electric arc. Later, in conversation with an industrialist looking to create an artificial fertilizer that would not require saltpeter, Birkeland realized fixing nitrogen out of the air using a huge electric arc could be the solution. The rest is history - Sam Eyde, the industrialist in question, and Birkeland created a company that made the first artificial fertilizer, improving the lives of millions around the world.

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