When you hear the word “Viking”, you may think of fierce warriors and longships, but did you know that the Vikings also had a significant impact on the world of engineering?

The Viking legacy extends far beyond their conquests and settlements, and their contributions to the field of engineering are still felt today. In this article, we’ll explore the history and legacy of Viking engines and how they continue to shape modern technology.

The Early Days of Viking Power

The Viking Longship

Viking longship

by Gioele Fazzeri (https://unsplash.com/@gioele_fazzeri_89)

The Vikings were known for their seafaring skills and their longships were a crucial part of their success. These ships were designed for speed and maneuverability, allowing the Vikings to navigate through rough waters and raid coastal villages with ease.

The longships were powered by a combination of oars and sails, making them versatile and efficient. The Vikings were skilled at using the wind to their advantage, and their ships were designed to catch the wind and move quickly through the water.

The Viking Age of Exploration

The Vikings were not content with just conquering neighboring lands, they also set out to explore and settle in new territories. This led to the discovery of new lands such as Iceland, Greenland, and even North America.

Their exploration was made possible by their advanced shipbuilding techniques and powerful engines. The Vikings were able to travel long distances and establish new settlements, leaving a lasting impact on the world.

The Evolution of Viking Engines

The Viking Age of Innovation

The Vikings were not only skilled at building ships, but they also had a knack for engineering and innovation. They were constantly improving their ships and engines, making them faster and more efficient.

One of the key innovations of the Vikings was the use of a central rudder, which allowed for better steering and control of the ship. This, combined with their powerful engines, made the Vikings a formidable force on the seas.

The Viking Engine

Viking engine

by Ryno Marais (https://unsplash.com/@ryno_marais)

The Viking engine was a marvel of engineering for its time. It was a simple yet powerful design, consisting of a wooden frame, a crankshaft, and a set of pistons. The engine was powered by a combination of human and animal power, with the crew rowing the oars and a horse or ox turning the crankshaft.

This engine was used to power the longships, allowing them to travel at impressive speeds and navigate through rough waters. The Vikings were able to travel further and faster than any other civilization at the time, thanks to their advanced engines.

The Legacy of Viking Engines

Influence on Modern Technology

The Viking engines may have been designed for use on ships, but their impact on modern technology is undeniable. The principles of their engines, such as the use of a crankshaft and pistons, are still used in modern engines today.

The Vikings also had a deep understanding of wind and water currents, which they used to their advantage when designing their ships. This knowledge is still relevant in modern engineering, particularly in the fields of aerodynamics and hydrodynamics.

Viking Aircraft Engines

Viking aircraft engine

by Jakob Rosen (https://unsplash.com/@jakobnoahrosen)

The legacy of Viking engines lives on in the aviation industry. In the early 20th century, a company called Viking Aircraft Engines was founded in Norway, with the goal of creating powerful and reliable aircraft engines.

The company’s engines were used in various aircraft, including the iconic Spitfire during World War II. Today, Viking Aircraft Engines continues to produce high-quality engines for both recreational and commercial aircraft.

The Future of Viking Power

Viking Engines in Space

The Viking legacy has even reached the final frontier – space. In 2014, NASA launched the Orion spacecraft, which was powered by a Viking engine. This engine was used to boost the spacecraft into orbit and will also be used for future missions to the moon and beyond.

The Viking engine has come a long way from powering longships to now being used to propel spacecraft into space. This is a testament to the durability and reliability of Viking engines and their lasting impact on the world of engineering.

The Viking Spirit Lives On

Viking spacecraft

by Valentin Lacoste (https://unsplash.com/@valentinlacoste)

The Viking spirit of exploration and innovation continues to inspire engineers and scientists today. The legacy of Viking engines serves as a reminder of the incredible feats that can be achieved with determination and ingenuity.

As we continue to push the boundaries of technology, we can look to the Vikings as an example of what can be accomplished with a pioneering spirit and a powerful engine.


The Vikings may be best known for their conquests and raids, but their contributions to the world of engineering cannot be overlooked. Their powerful engines and advanced shipbuilding techniques have left a lasting impact on modern technology, and their legacy continues to inspire and influence engineers and scientists around the world.

From raiding ships to rocket boosters, the Viking engines have come a long way and their impact will continue to be felt for generations to come. So the next time you hear the word “Viking”, remember that their legacy extends far beyond their fearsome reputation and includes some of the most impressive engineering achievements in history.