Yes, You Use Swedish Inventions!
A little over a week ago a work colleague of mine forwarded a link to me talking about a new idea for bike helmets. It’s referred to as the invisible bike helmet (The Hövding helmet) and was invented by two Swedish women, Anna Haupt and Terese Alstin. As I looked at the photo of the model wearing one I thought to myself that it sure was invisible as I can’t see it! (That would be because it’s actually a collar that is worn around the neck and inflates like an airbag upon impact).
While this particular invention (or rather re-invention) may not change my life dramatically, the article did get me thinking about other Swedish inventions. Have there been many? How have they contributed to society?
I have to admit to trying to come up with my own ideas that would change the world and make me rich beyond my wildest dreams! There has been many an instance where I have thought about what a great idea I have come up with only to find out it has already been thought of! Arrghh! Oh well, it’s just not my time…yet!
Ok…enough about me and my dreams…back to the topic. While Swede’s have inventions going back hundreds of years, there are just a few I will focus on that I have looked at in this past century.
To begin with, there is the zipper. Although the concept of the zipper was not originally the brainstorm of Gideon Sundback, it was he, who around 1913 perfected the design we are familiar with today. Well, perfected may be too strong a strong word…I don’t know how many times I have had clothing catch in it or had it come apart at the bottom! Nevertheless, it has made a huge impact since those early days on how we fasten clothing and other items such as suitcases, purses and boots.
Then there is the Tetra Pak, invented by Erik Wallenberg and produced by Åkerlund & Rausing (a food packaging company established in 1929 in Malmö), and is, of course, used all over the world for the packaging of foods and liquids. Juice, soups and milk are a few items that utilize this kind of packaging. One thing I can say about this invention though is thank goodness for recycling!
In the medical field, I found out that Rune Elmqvist, a Swedish doctor (who actually didn’t practice medicine), invented the first implantable pacemaker in 1958. His first patient, Arne Larsson, lived well over 40 more years after having pacemakers implanted. This medical miracle has since extended the lives of millions of patients worldwide. Chalk another one up for the Swedes!
So, yes, there have been many Swedish inventors who have helped in one way or another in making our lives a bit easier and I very much look forward to the future inventions Sweden will have to offer. Now, I have to go and find out where I can find that bike helmet!
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