Harold Bluetooth Gromson

While searching for info on Bluetooth, I came across this little nugget of info from University of Utah. I had no idea that…

Bluetooth® is named for Tenth Century Danish king Harald Blåtand, known in English as Harold Bluetooth Gromson, who is reputed to have been so fond of blueberries that his teeth were stained blue. The Bluetooth symbol is a bindrune that combines the runes for Harald Blåtand’s initials — “h” looks like an asterisk.

I have no doubt that eating a large amount of blueberries regularly would stain the teeth blue. However, I’m not exactly sure how that relates to cutting-edge wireless technology.

Bluetooth logoRegardless, one of the reasons I was doing a little Harald Blåtand research (I’m going to refer to the technology by its original Danish name) was trying to find out if the Apple Wireless Keyboard and Mouse work with two Macs. Meaning, if I have my laptop and tower in the same room, can I control both with the same Bluetoo– excuse me, Harald Blåtand keyboard and mouse.

One issue I could imagine would be that typing and controlling the mouse would happen simultaneously on both computers. That could be a problem — but perhaps there’s a way for it to work. I’ve had a tough time finding an answer online, so if anyone has already experimented with this, be sure to leave a comment.


  1. Fernando says:

    Dan, the blue teeth of the king relates with the technology in the fact that the first bluetooth receptor had a “teeth-like” shape and, of course, was blue.
    I don’t know if this remains true.

  2. Kyle says:

    Teleport might offer what you’re looking for.

  3. I have a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse on a Windows PC. As far as I know the bluetooth connection will only activate on one machine and you can adjust the settings to specify which computer you want activated. Bluetooth has some sort of unique ID system built in so that it doesn’t interfere with another computer. On Windows I know it is not a problem and I heard Bluetooth works even better on a Mac so I would guess that it isn’t an issue.

  4. Matt says:

    I was under the impression that a bunch of people got drunk at the conference where they were putting together the specification, and the name stuck.

  5. Tore says:

    What’s next: Svend Tveskæg CPU’s or Erik den Røde Monitors?

  6. Jake says:

    From my understanding of it Harald Blåtand was famous for having everyone talk to each other rather than fight, which in theory is what Bluetooth is supposed to do. Plus weren’t they all Nordic guys who were designing the standard?

  7. Jonas says:

    Tore: Remember that the names should be translated to english and should apply to new technologies, or alternatively technology standards. So it would be more like Twinbeards CCPUA (Common CPU Architecture), or Reds WDSC (Wireless Display Support Connector).
    Dan: Another note, you needn’t call it Harald Blåtand, as only the Blåtand is used in the english name for the technology.
    Now we just need to teach you to say it. It’s actually quite easy. First, we start with the BL sound from BLeed; then we steal the OU sound from OUght; finally, we finish of with TAN. This should get you close enough that a dane could understand what you meant. You could record yourself saying the name and put it here on your page.

  8. Andreas says:

    I can’t be the only Dane who is amused that the Swedish inventors of Bluetooth named it after a Danish king!
    Everyone I know generally use the English “Bluetooth” in conversations in Danish. I use “Blåtand” some times – often because I, as every other Dane, have trouble with pronouncing the “th”. :o)

  9. Gunnar says:

    Andreas: I think the inventors of Bluetooth are based in Lund, Sweden, at the Ericsson office there. Since Lund (my hometown!) and the whole county of Skåne was dansih at the time of Harald Blåtand, it’s not that strange.
    A small, blue toothlike thing invented in Lund… What else would they call it? ;)

  10. Kim says:

    Regarding Bluetooth keyboards, I have not tried to Apple keyboard but I have used another vendors with a PC.
    The keyboard needs to “handshake” with the computer – setting up an encryption key so it is only talking to the one computer. You can handshake with a different computer each time you wish to change by hitting a button on the base of the keyboard. I do this semi-regularly when I switch between using the keyboard for my laptop and for my desktop PC.
    So, to answer your question – if it works the same – yes, you can use it with both, but only with one at a time.

  11. Andre Leistner says:

    A trailing l is missing in the URL to the University of Utah

  12. ppk says:

    I heard a different story about king Harald Bluetooth.
    Harald was a heathen king of Denmark who ruled, say, around 850 (?) He had bad teeth which caused him a lot of toothache.
    The only ones who could cure his aches were monks, and therefore Harald decided Christianity was the Only True Faith, converted, and forced all Danes to convert, too.
    Denmark (including Skane in the south of Sweden, in those days) thus became the first Christian Scandinavian country.
    Since Bluetooth appeared on the market I’ve constantly wondered why they named it after king Harald. Maybe it’s the “conversion” bit? Everyone should convert to Bluetooth to cure their online aches?

  13. Tomas says:

    I’m Swedish myself, and over here we call it “Blåtand” all the time. As far as I know, however, Ericsson has said that the name of the technology is Bluetooth and not Blåtand, because originally, even in the press they occasionally called it Blåtand.

  14. Dan August says:

    I have to clear this matter up. Harald Blåtand was indeed the first christian king of Denmark.
    He was the son of Gorm (not Grom) the Old. Harold’s son was Sven Forkbeard.
    Harold had a black tooth, but I’m told that back in those days, they didn’t differentiate between black and blue, so he became known as Harold Bluetooth.
    Harold merits include uniting the warring tribes of Denmark, Norway and Sweden.
    The name ‘Bluetooth’ was chosen as a code name for the project and found fitting because it unites the efforts of different IT industries.
    The ‘Bluetooth’ standard was first conceived by Danish scientists and developers.
    Read more about the name on bluetooth.org.
    Bonus info – or bonus myth:
    The missionary, abbot Ansgar, convinced Harold that his god was stronger than Harold’s gods (Odin, Thor etc.) by winning a classic i-dare-you competition. Harold said that he would be agree to be baptised, if Ansgar could pick up a burning log from the fireplace without hurting his hands as a proof of faith and the power of God. Ansgar did so, and Harald became a christian and let Ansgar convert the rest of the kingdom.
    Bonus info II:
    The belief in the ancient Nordic gods is hard-lived. Last year it made a comeback and was once again approved as a religion (though nowhere near the dominant one) in Denmark; rendering Asa-believers no longer heathens.

  15. Kyle says:

    Horror story time:
    At work, we have wireless mice (and now keyboards). Although, not bluetooth, the Logitech ones work great, but the Microsoft ones interefere badly with each other. They will start working with another computer, and you can’t stop them. The channel changing doesn’t work properly.
    I would hope that bluetooth does not do the same, but I bet it depends on the brand.

  16. Jason Pearce says:

    Perhaps Synergy would solve your problem.
    Similar to Teleport, Synergy lets you share a single mouse and keyboard between multiple computers. Except, Synergy works with several operating systems. I’m just not sure if it works with a Mac.

  17. Brian Middleton says:

    I believe that if you pair an Apple mouse and/or keyboard to a Powerbook and a desktop and have all the components in the same room, that the mouse and/or keyboard will activate on both machines. I can give it a try tonite. It would be interesting to set up the two machines the same, start the cursor in the same place and do the same work on both. Not very productive..but kinda funny..

  18. blueserker says:

    the person that actually first proposed the name was an american working for intel that just happened to be reading a book on viking history :-)

  19. …which is why we should reintroduce the glorious viking age (sorry could not resist).

  20. So many danes… It’s… It’s just so beautiful!
    /me sobs

  21. michael says:

    In a similar tradition; the story of the 4th Century Welsh King, Robert, gained the name ‘Blackberry’ after surviving in blackberry bushes after the English raids in the border town of Wrexham.

  22. michael says:

    Couldn’t resist. But I’ll come clean so as not to offend.
    ‘Bobby’ Blackberry was a joke!

  23. For the record, I’m loving the Scandinavian history stuff. Half of my ancestry is Swedish, and my wife and I are making a trip to Stockholm in late May. Can’t wait.

  24. derek says:

    I stumbled across Harald Bluetooth Gromson’s name just last week in Poul Anderson’s book Mother of Kings and wondered whether there was any connection. Thanks for clearing that up for me!

  25. Jeff Croft says:

    Thanks for the history lesson. :)
    I have the Apple Bluetooth Mouse and Keyboard, as well. When you set it near a computer, it does sync up with that computer, creating an encryption key that is specific to that computer, preventing the mouse and keyboard from controlling another nearby computer. Having only one Mac right now, I’m not sure how easy it is to “switch” the active computer. I’m sure it can be done — I’m just not sure if it’s as simple as reaiming the keyboard and mouse, or if there is a 10 step proceedure that would make it more trouble than it’s worth.

  26. Darrel says:

    Someone needs to turn this all into a fun childrens book: The Legend of King Bluetooth!

  27. jens persson says:

    When talking about Harald Blåtand I can’t resist giving a hint about The Long Ships by Frans G Bengtsson which is a fantastic book featuring a yule at king Harald’s court. It’s all fiction but have been very influential about how vikings are perceived, at least here in Sweden.

  28. Magnus the Good says:

    Uhm… do this mean, that all the times I (and my friends) said “Bl

  29. Ole Hansen says:

    Just a small correction: It was not Ansgar, but Poppo, who convinced Harald Blåtand to convert. At least according to this page.
    However, Ansgar did try to convert the Danes to Christanity, but unsuccessfully. The king at that time, Harald Klak (who supported Ansgar), was driven from his kingdom. This was about 150 years before Harald Blåtand’s reign.

  30. Dan August says:

    @Ole: True, the legend is about Poppo, and not Ansgar.

    However, I seem to recall from the back of my mind that Ansgar was the first bishop in Scandinavia and based in Hedeby (now Flensburg).

    Nevertheless, if you ever visit Jelling, Denmark, you can still see the graveyards of Gorm (not Grom) and Thyra, who were Harald’s parents. Along with the rune stone Harald rose in remembrance of his parents. The stone is often referred to as the birth certificate of Denmark.

    Bonus info:
    Legend has it that Gorm (not Grom) and Thyra slept with a sword between during their first years of marriage as they were very suspicious of eachothers true intentions. The vikings allways brought very straight forward measures to daily life problems.

  31. Jason Kilpatrick says:

    One KB/Mouse for multiple computers will not work simultaneously. And I don’t anticipate it ever working. The KB/Mouse can be used on one computer at a time. Yyou will have to pair the connection every time you want to switch between machines. Sorry if this has been mentioned. Most comments were history lessons. =)

  32. Michiel says:

    There are a lot of irrelevant answers in this thread, which makes it hard for me to conclude: is it possible yes or no? Of course nobody would want to control 2 computers (win/lin/mac) at the same time, so non-simultaneously, is it possible?
    The answer I’m looking for is: which product can do this? It would be the product that has a simple button to switch, but how does it connect to the ‘next’ computer? I inspected the Lochitech MX set, it comes with a button on the bottom labeled ‘connect’. Has anyone tried to use this to switch computers?
    And what happened? I could imagine being stuck in between. Since we are talking about input devices, doesn’t pairing require you to make an active selection in the OS? How does one do this if your input device is not connected??
    Very interested to hear before I run out to spend money…
    Can also mail me, would be very thankfull!!

  33. Daniel Kasaj says:

    All this talk about Bluetooth keyboards got me wondering… I have an iPAQ PocketPC and wonder if it would be possible to pair it with a BT (full size) keyboard and use it as an input method… Probably need some kind of drivers
    Great page btw!!

  34. Here’s the story about Bluetooth according to the Royal Danish Ministry of Foregin Affairs:
    Check the link to read the full story.
    Early Danish experiences with Bluetooth
    “The idea behind Bluetooth wireless technology was hatched in 1994 by Scandinavian engineers, who thought it was appropriate to name it after the legendary Danish King Harald Bluetooth, as it is a technology uniting devices. During the reign of the Danish King Harald Bluetooth from 940 to 981, Denmark and Norway were converted to Christianity and united – hence the inspiration for the name: Bluetooth symbolises a consolidating and unifying element.
    Today, Denmark is at the forefront of Bluetooth technology. Several Danish companies have developed innovative Bluetooth products and Denmark is setting the pace of development, with 7 out of the world’s first 11 classified Bluetooth products being developed here.
    A Cluster of Complete Mobile Competencies
    Today, Denmark is one of the world’s leading centres in wireless R&D, both in the application area, in the design of new handsets, infrastructure components, expertise in RF engineering, overall system design, product design/user interface as well as testing and end-production. Within a short radius more than 60 companies are engaged in Telecom. Furthermore, Denmark is characterised by many remote R&D facilities from international players such as Nokia, Ericsson, Motorola, Texas Instruments and Siemens.Denmark has a position as a value-adding location for development activities in wireless communication.
    Since 2001 Danish Digianswer A/S has been Motorola’s Center of Excellence within Bluetooth technology. Main areas are: Chip development, integration and software development.
    “It is only natural for us to locate ourselves in Aalborg, Denmark, because it is a well-known fact that the region is among the world leaders in connection with Bluetooth technology.”
    Ian Campell
    Recruitment Officer, CSR”

  35. dean says:

    ..I just wish Harald’s son Sven had united the danish tribes – then everything would now be Forkbeard enabled.

  36. Adem says:

    Everyone!!!!!!!! here is the complete cut and dried history of King Harald Blatland though I can not give you tech answers for bluetooth stuff. Some of you touched on parts of it and quite well I must say and though you did a good job you do not get the cigar.
    Here it goes
    It is thought that blatland is derived from “bla” meaning darkskinned and “tan” meaning great man (bluetooth was a nickname).
    Part two coming soon do not have time to type the rest right now.

  37. Anonymous says:

    940 to 981?! A blue tooth? Blueberries?!?
    Come on! Harald Gormsson was called “Harald the Good” while he was alive, that is the only nickname (if you will) by which he is ever referred to in ancient sources. Don’t ask me why he has become known as “Bluetooth”, but it is a fact that no-one knows if he was ever actually called that during his lifetime. And even if he was, we don’t know why…there are plenty of fanciful explanations, but everything is pure guesswork, really.
    He became king in 958 or 959 (that, on the other hand, is a fact), and died on November 1st, probably 986, but 985 and 987 are also possible.

  38. Rob Mayfield says:

    I am looking for any and all information on “King Harold 1st, or King Harold Bluetooth. According to my Geneology, I am a direct lind from his linage, and I am looking for informtion on him.
    Thank You,
    Rob Mayfield