With the designs of Swedish furniture chain IKEA gracing our website so often over the past couple of years, you could be forgiven for thinking that the company was the best thing to come out of the Scandinavian country since Abba. Delve a little deeper, though, and you'll soon discover that the country has been responsible for creating – and exporting – a vast range of brands, products, and inventions. With this in mind, today we're taking a look at just three of the things you may not have known are results of Swedish efforts.
Like most countries in the world, Canada uses the Celsius scale to record temperature. As you'll probably know, the scale is based on zero degrees for the freezing point of water and 100 for the boiling point. What you might not know, however, is that it was originally devised by Anders Celsius, an astronomer who was born in Uppsala, Sweden. Celsius worked as a professor at his home city's university from 1730 until his death in 1744, devising the scale two years prior to his death.
Elsewhere in the world of scientific breakthroughs, the artificial pacemaker has proved an invaluable instrument in saving the lives of many heart patients, regulating the beating of the heart by using electric impulses. Although the concept of using an electrical cardiac implant had been mooted for many years, its first live clinical implementation came in 1958, at the Karolinska Institute in Solna, Sweden.
Designed by inventor Rune Elmqvist and surgeon Åke Senning, the first pacemaker prototype failed after three hours and was replaced by another that lasted only two days, so it didn't initially seem to bode well for the invention. However, the device's recipient, Arne Larsson, went on to have 26 pacemakers fitted throughout his life, which eventually came to an end in 2001, with Larsson aged 86.
Online Casino Gaming
There's no doubt about it: online gaming is a big and meteoric business. According to a recent study published by Statista, the total size of the online gambling and iGaming market is set to reach $56 billion USD ($74 billion CAD) by 2018 – more than doubling since 2009. Of the different sectors, casino gaming has the biggest market share, its revenues making up 23 percent of the overall industry.
While many online casino operators and developers are based in North America and the UK, such as software houses Playtech and Microgaming, what you might not know is that Sweden is somewhat of a hotbed for online casino gaming, too. iGaming developer NetEnt is headquartered in the country, and its success is undeniable: the company, which is responsible for many popular online slot and casino games, posted revenues of nearly 1.5 billion SEK last year ($224 million CAD).
Similarly, as stated by online comparison site CasinoQuest, Sweden-based operator LeoVegas also had a profitable year, recording revenues reaching several million euros. A large part of LeoVegas's success can be attributed to its capitalization on the popularity of live casino, which offers players the opportunity to replicate the experience of stepping foot in an actual casino, by offering live tables that are live-streamed to players, with attractive live dealers and live chat functionality allowing users the chance to socialize as they play.
The Coke Bottle
While major soft drink brand Coca-Cola is a company with its history rooted in North America, you may not know that a Swede played a major role in helping the company's flagship beverage become the mainstream juggernaut it is today. Last year, The Coca-Cola Company turned over a staggering $44 billion USD ($58 billion CAD), and it is hard to imagine our food and drink landscape being what it is today without the influence of the company's now-varied range of products that which line our store shelves.
One piece of iconography associated with Coca-Cola is the sleek glass bottle the drink was originally served in; some suggest Coke still tastes better in a glass bottle to this day! That bottle was actually devised by Swedish immigrant Alexander Samuelsson, who was born in Surte before later emigrating to the US. After moving to the United States, Samuelsson began working for the Root Glass Company, which was based in Indiana.
In 1915, in the face of increased competition from copycat rivals, Coca-Cola ran a national competition to create a patentable new glass bottle that was "so distinct that you would recognize it by feel in the dark, or lying broken on the ground". Through Root Glass, Samuelsson submitted the winning design, which he based on the layout of the cocoa pod. The bottle went on to help Coke develop one of the most recognizable brands in the world, and even inspired Andy Warhol to produce a series of iconic Coca-Cola bottle paintings.
So there you have it: three things you didn't realize came from Sweden. Which are your favorite Swedish exports? Let us know in the comments below.