Sitting around during a 30 minute break at the Swedish Bridge Festival 2010 I started to speak with someone who seemed like your every day Swedish Bridge Player. It turned out he was the inventor of the bidding box!
Gösta Nordenson (Left) Gavin Wolpert (Right)Born in Stockholm 1932 Gösta grew up with bridge playing parents. In 1949 they taught him to play rubber bridge, the game they played regularly. He began to play as often as he could with his friends in high school, in between classes, after school. After studying Economics in London, Gösta began playing tournament bridge in 1955. He is married to Britt Nordenson, one of the all time greatest women's players from Sweden.
One day in 1962 he read an article in the Swedish newspaper about a Far East championships in China. The Chinese had begun to use paper on the table to write the auction rather than do it verbally. This was implemented both to limit the noise in the room when playing and also to contain information from being stolen from nearby tables. Later that year he patented a device which would become universal around the world... The Bidding Box. People were very concerned of the information you may pass to your partner by touching the box in the process of selecting your bid, so a rule was implemented that the box must be situated at least 2cm below the table.
The first tournament they were used was in a tournament in Uddevalla, 100 km from Gothenberg, Sweden. It became mainstream in Sweden shortly after and when they hosted the World Bridge Championships in Stockholm 1970, the world became aware of their benefits. That year Gösta sold the Patent to Erik Jannersten to pursue his main interest of Stainless Steel in Avesta, Sweden. Per Jannersten now runs the family business who still own the patent on the bidding box.
Pictured: A Modern version of the classic bidding box, sitting below the table top as per regulations.
Plus... it's free!