Tag Archives: Mid-Century Modern

Thor Bjørklund – inventor of the cheese slicer

P1290489I like cheese — especially Danish Havarti and Spanish queso manchego, made from the milk of manchega sheep.  For snacking, cooking and melting, its hard to beat the  Extra Sharp Cheddar from the farmer-owned, Oregon-based Tilamook, which we usually have on hand.

I’ve sliced plenty of cheese over the years, but never gave much thought to the tool that I use to slice my cheese.  Well… at least not until I found the Bjørklund cheese slicers from Norway.

Before I listed these on my Etsy Store, the research — as it often does — revealed interesting information.

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It turns out that the inventor of the modern cheese slicer was a Norwegian man named Thor Bjørklund.  Yes, the same name that is on this cheese slicer.

Mr. Bjørklunde was a master carpenter and attended the Arts and Crafts School in Oslo, Norway.  He reportedly created the design after becoming frustrated with cutting into the cheese in his lunch pack.

Being a carpenter, he modeled his cheese slicer after a  plane – a tool used to shape and smooth out pieces of lumber.

“Ostehovel” Image via Wikipedia Commons

Bjorklund’s invention was patented in 1925.  The cheese slicer was a huge export product for Norway and  became a staple kitchen item in many Nordic households (and beyond!).

These days, cheese slicers are made by a number of manufacturers, but you can still purchase the original ones made by Bjørklund — because they continue to produce cheese slicers modeled after the one invented by Mr. Thor Bjorklund.

Ah yes… the things you learn when you have a blog AND an Etsy Vintage Shop!

Here is a link to the Etsy Listing for the Bjorklund Cheese Slicer (or click on the Etsy post image below).

Etsy Listing


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Update — I’ve also listed another cheese slicer on the store, this one designed by Swedish master jeweler and silversmith Vivianna Torun Bülow-Hübe for Dansk.

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You can click on the photo to see the listing for this Dansk cheese slicer on my Estsy shop.

The Lonborg Denmark cast iron / blue enamel item — a “Brutalist” bowl?

When I purchased these beautiful Dansk 1960’s era casseroles in the Fluted Flamestone line, it came with  bonus piece.

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Dansk1960’s fluted flamestone 3 quart casserole (click on photo to see the listing on Etsy)
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Dansk1960’s fluted flamestone 2 quart casserole with a tagine-like dome top (click on photo to see the listing on Etsy)

The bonus piece was a cast iron “bowl”.

The prior owner thought the bowl was a Dansk piece and part of the set.

It was not.P1250659In fact, it wasn’t  a Dansk item at all but it could have possibly been purchased with the casseroles in mind.

The bottom of this lovely cast iron piece had  nice clear stamp — so it was easy enough to get preliminary information.

P1250657Within Etsy’s search box, I found  a listing for the item from  an Etsy seller in the United Kingdom:

UK ListingI do my best to research the objects that I list on my store, so it was interesting to see this listing and the title.

The listing title included the words “Brutalist” and Space Age.

A quick search yielded this Wikipedia article about the term Brutalist — a term not yet familiar to me.

Brutalist architecture is a movement in architecture that flourished from the 1950s to the mid-1970s, descending from the modernist architectural movement of the early 20th century.

The term originates from the French word for “raw” in the term used by Le Corbusier to describe his choice of material béton brut (raw concrete).

British architectural critic Reyner Banham adapted the term into “brutalism” (originally “New Brutalism”) to identify the emerging style.

I have seen sculptures described as Brutalist — like this steel and brass piece from the Etsy Store Luola.

Brutalist Sculpture
Vintage mid century free standing brass and Steel Sculpture from the Etsy Store LUOLA (click on image to visit store and listing) PHOTO BY LUOLA and description: A lovely modern / Brutalist interpretation of birds in flight. Carefully crafted from steel and brass. In great vintage condition.

 

So I suppose the term can also be used to describe objects, like the Lonborg Denmark cast enamel item?

A search on EBay yielded this Lonborg listing and an answer to this item’s original use:

Lonborg piece EBay Listing

Ah… so it’s a piece that was part of a warming trivet pack to keep food warm.  Clever, right?

Before I listed the item on my shop, another Etsy “Lonborg” search yielded this listing:

Buffet Warmer

Wow — it seems like my item would be a great match for this buffet warmer (and Lauride Lonborg) listing .

I’ve added the link to my listing page in case someone needs both in their mid-century modern dining collection.

How awesome would it be to have this vintage set to keep food contained in oven to table casseroles nice and warm for a buffet style party…

Here is my listing (you can click on the image to see the item on my Etsy store):

Lonborg Piece as Listed on Etsy


I’m posting this information so that if someone runs into this particular object in the future, they will at least have this blog post to learn what it was used for / or sold as.

And too… I suppose it is to avoid misnaming items.

Let me know if you have seen or are familiar with this piece.  Have you used one?

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Related: Another item listing with a link to an Etsy Seller – The Meaning of Handgemalt