What is a lur?
A lur or lur horn is a wind instrument cast in bronze dating from the Late Bronze Age (c.1000 BC). It consists of an S-shaped pipe made of several pieces of bronze that have been welded together, a soundboard at the upper end and a mouthpiece at the lower end.
Most of the lurs that have been found have come from Denmark, though some have also been found in Sweden, Norway and northern Germany. The curving shape of the tubes recalls ox horns, on which the lurs are thought to have been modelled.
The name ‘lur’ is of more recent origin. It was first used by archaeologists at the beginning of the nineteenth century. They took it from the Icelandic sagas, in which they say ‘the warriors were summoned to battle with the lur’.
In recent times the lur has often been used as a motif and has become linked with Denmark and Danish quality. It has been used in political contexts and art. There is a famous statue of two lur-blowers in City Hall Square in Copenhagen
Perhaps however the most famous modern use of lurs is as a trademark.
In the late nineteenth century Danish butter had built up a reputation for being of the highest quality and of exceptional taste. However, or more likely perhaps because of this, many butters from other countries would pass themselves off as Danish.
Danish dairy farmers came together and decided something had to be done to protect their reputation and their trade. So on 23rd October 1901, ‘Lurmark’ was registered as the trademark for quality Danish butter.
In 1957 the Lurmark Danish Butter became the Lurpak® that we know and love today. It is still owned by the co-operative Danish Dairy Board, which in turn is part of Arla Foods. It is sold in 75 countries worldwide
The identity still features entwined ‘lurs’ as a symbol of that Danish quality and to summon not Icelandic warriors but food lovers to the table.
They will be drawn by the lur(e) of the great taste of the finest Danish butter.