The Norwegian Cheese Slicer That Caused a Commotion

Cheese has long been a part of the Norwegian diet, and through the centuries people cut it using a knife. This wasn’t the most economical way of cutting cheese, and getting even-sized slices was difficult. Furniture maker Thor Bjorklund had long toyed with the idea of finding a better way. He wanted a tool that was easier on the cheese, as well as budget friendly. Finally, in 1925, the Bjorklund cheese slicer was created. He patented the invention, and in 1927 put it into industrial production in the town of Lillehammer. What was more natural for a furniture maker than to look to his everyday toolkit for inspiration, so he based the cheese slicer on the carpenter’s plane. His solution was simple but ingenious. The 1920s was a time of hardship, and the Bjorklund cheese slicer was a big hit with homemakers. The bonus was that they could also use the tool to slice potatoes for making potato chips, and it was equally as useful on a variety of other vegetables. However, not everyone was happy. The dairies and cheesemakers across the country saw the newcomer as a threat and people worried about declining sales and the threat to their livelihood. They even went so far as to place bags in locations across the country that had signs that read: “Throw your cheese slicer here!” Fortunately, Bjorklund wasn’t deterred by his opposition, and people continued to buy and use the Bjorklund cheese slicer.