Tor Sørnes

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Tor Sørnes (11 November 1925 21 June 2017) was a Norwegian author, politician, engineer and the designer and inventor of the VingCard, the first recodable keycard lock and the magnetic stripe keycard lock. [1] [2]

An author is the creator or originator of any written work such as a book or play, and is also considered a writer. More broadly defined, an author is "the person who originated or gave existence to anything" and whose authorship determines responsibility for what was created.

A politician is a person active in party politics, or a person holding or seeking office in government. Politicians propose, support and create laws or policies that govern the land and, by extension, its people. Broadly speaking, a "politician" can be anyone who seeks to achieve political power in any bureaucratic institution.

Engineer Professional practitioner of engineering and its sub classes

Engineers, as practitioners of engineering, are professionals who invent, design, analyze, build, and test machines, systems, structures and materials to fulfill objectives and requirements while considering the limitations imposed by practicality, regulation, safety, and cost. The word engineer is derived from the Latin words ingeniare and ingenium ("cleverness"). The foundational qualifications of an engineer typically include a four-year bachelor's degree in an engineering discipline, or in some jurisdictions, a master's degree in an engineering discipline plus four to six years of peer-reviewed professional practice and passage of engineering board examinations.



Tor Sørnes was born in Sola, Rogaland county, Norway as a son of inventor, radio technician and clock maker Rasmus Sørnes. Being the son of an inventor, Tor Sørnes occupied himself with technical matters already as a child. In 1950 he was employed a production planner at steel and ironware factory Christiania Staal & Jernvarefabrikk in Moss, Norway. The factory made locks and ice skates under the brand Ving. In 1955 he became the factory's machine constructor and when the factory in 1960as one of the first in the countryestablished a department of research and development, he was its director. [3]

Sola Municipality in Rogaland, Norway

Sola is a municipality in Rogaland county, Norway. It is located in the traditional district of Jæren. The administrative centre of the municipality is the village of Solakrossen. Other villages include Tananger, Hålandsmarka, Sørnes, and Stenebyen. Stavanger Airport is located in Sola, just a short distance from the large Stavanger/Sandnes metropolitan area.

Rogaland County (fylke) of Norway

Rogaland[²ruːɡɑlɑn](listen) is a county in Western Norway, bordering Hordaland, Telemark, Aust-Agder, and Vest-Agder counties. Rogaland is the center of the Norwegian petroleum industry. In 2016, Rogaland had an unemployment rate of 4.9%, one of the highest in Norway. In 2015, Rogaland had a fertility rate of 1.78 children per woman, which is the highest in the country.

Norway Country in Northern Europe

Norway, officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic country in Northwestern Europe whose territory comprises of the western and northernmost portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula; the remote island of Jan Mayen and the archipelago of Svalbard are also part of the Kingdom of Norway. The Antarctic Peter I Island and the sub-Antarctic Bouvet Island are dependent territories and thus not considered part of the kingdom. Norway also lays claim to a section of Antarctica known as Queen Maud Land.

In 1975 he launched the holecard based recodable keycard lock, where each new hotel guest could have his/her own unique key formed by a pattern of 32 holes in a plastic card. The invention is still in worldwide hotel security use under the brand VingCard. The 32 holes in the key gave 4.2 billion combinations, the precise same number as the population of the earth at the time. This lock system was patented in 29 countries. In 1975 Tor Sørnes launched the first recodable cardkey lock, the VingCard, which used a holecard plastic key. He then led the development of and patented the electronic keycard lock, based on the magnetic stripe key. [4]

A keycard lock is a lock operated by a keycard, a flat, rectangular plastic card with identical dimensions to that of a credit card or American and EU driver's license. The card stores a physical or digital pattern that the door mechanism accepts before disengaging the lock.

Planet Class of astronomical body directly orbiting a star or stellar remnant

A planet is an astronomical body orbiting a star or stellar remnant that is massive enough to be rounded by its own gravity, is not massive enough to cause thermonuclear fusion, and has cleared its neighbouring region of planetesimals.

Export of the system was initiated in 1978 when it was installed in Peachtree Plaza Hotel in Atlanta, Georgia, at the time the world's tallest hotel. The hotel had been troubled by burglaries and was eager to test new security innovations. [5]

Atlanta Capital of Georgia, United States

Atlanta is the capital and most populous city in the U.S. state of Georgia. With an estimated 2018 population of 498,044, it is also the 37th most-populous city in the United States. The city serves as the cultural and economic center of the Atlanta metropolitan area, home to 5 million people and the ninth largest metropolitan in the nation. Atlanta is the seat of Fulton County, the most populous county in Georgia. Portions of the city extend eastward into neighboring DeKalb County.

Georgia (U.S. state) U.S. state in the United States

Georgia is a state located in the southeastern region of the United States. Georgia is the 24th largest in area and 8th-most populous of the 50 United States. Georgia is bordered to the north by Tennessee and North Carolina, to the northeast by South Carolina, to the southeast by the Atlantic Ocean, to the south by Florida, and to the west by Alabama. Atlanta, a "beta(+)" global city, is both the state's capital and largest city. The Atlanta metropolitan area, with an estimated population of 5,949,951 in 2018, is the 9th most populous metropolitan area in the United States and contains about 60% of the entire state population.

In 1992-93 the electronic magnetic stripe card lock was launched and became a worldwide success. Tor Sørnes continued as a vice president and director of R&D at VingCard until retirement in 1992. Following the merger in November 1994 between VingCard's former owners, Abloy Security, and the Swedish Securitas AB, VingCard is now part of Assa Abloy, a Swedish lock manufacturer. [5] [6]

Securitas AB Sweden security services group

Securitas AB is a security services, monitoring, consulting and investigation group, based in Stockholm, Sweden. The group has over 300,000 employees in 53 countries worldwide. Securitas AB is listed at Nasdaq OMX Stockholm, Large Cap segment.

Assa Abloy AB is a Swedish conglomerate whose offerings cover products and services ranging from locks, doors, gates and entrance automation. This also includes controlling identities with keys, cards, tags, mobile and bio-metric identity verification systems. Assa Abloy was formed in 1994, when Assa AB was separated from Swedish security firm Securitas AB.

Tor Sørnes is a retired member of Moss City council, and lives in Jeløy. [7] He is the father of author Torgrim Sørnes.

Moss, Norway Municipality in Østfold, Norway

Moss  is a coastal town and a municipality in Østfold county, Norway. The administrative centre of the municipality is the town of Moss. The city of Moss was established as a municipality on 1 January 1838. The rural municipality of Jeløy was merged with the city on 1 July 1943.

A city council, town council, town board, or board of aldermen is the legislative body that governs a city, town, municipality, or local government area.

Jeløy was a former municipality in Østfold county, Norway.

Selected works

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Magnetic stripe card card which stores data on a stripe of magnetic material

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Lock and key mechanical or electronic fastening device

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HID Global

HID Global is an American manufacturer of secure identity products. The company is a subsidiary of Assa Abloy, a Swedish door and access control conglomerate.

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Medeco, a subsidiary of the Swedish Assa Abloy Group, is a lock manufacturer located in Roanoke County, Virginia, United States.

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Rasmus Sørnes Norwegian clockmaker

Rasmus Jonassen Sørnes, was a Norwegian inventor, clockmaker and radio technician, and is most famous for his advanced astronomical clocks, the most precise of which has an inaccuracy of 7 seconds during 1000 years. During his lifetime, Sørnes also designed and built a large variety of agricultural, radio-technical and mechanical devices, only a few of them patented.

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Events in the year 1925 in Norway.

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Events in the year 1967 in Norway.

Conrad Christian Parnemann Langaard was a Norwegian businessperson. He was the founder of the tobacco company, Conrad Langaard A/S.

Torgrim Sørnes is a Norwegian physician, historian and author, who has written extensively on Norwegian social and forensic history.

VingCard Elsafe

VingCard Elsafe, whose origin was in Moss, Norway, is an international producer of hotel locking systems, electronic in-room safes and energy management systems. After inventing the first mechanical hole card operated lock in 1976, VingCard was acquired in 1994 by ASSA ABLOY, and merged with the electronic safe producer Elsafe to form VingCard Elsafe in 2006. Since 2 June 2015 VingCard Elsafe is not an operating company, but a product brand within ASSA ABLOY Hospitality.

Bjørn Lyng Norwegian politician

Bjørn Lyng was a Norwegian businessman, investor and industrialist. He was the founder of Lyng Gruppen AS, a holding company with over twenty subsidiaries. He is also associated with his development of vacation resorts located in Arguineguín along the south coast of Gran Canaria in the Canary Islands.


  1. Tor Sørnes (Olav Skjeggedal. Store norske leksikon)
  2. "Tor Sørnes har gått bort i en alder av 91 år". fagurmaker. Retrieved 28 November 2017.
  3. Rasmus Sørnes (Store norske leksikon)
  4. Tor Sørnes ( Fredrik Th. Bolin. Store norske leksikon)]
  5. 1 2 "A brief history". VingCard Elsafe.
  6. "Assa Abloy: Our Companies". Assa Abloy. Archived from the original on 8 August 2011.
  7. Moss avis, 16-08-2005. "Tor Sørnes er [..] tidligere bystyremedlem, bosatt på Jeløy"