Turns out, somebody on the internet suggested, without evidence, that it traces back to Borgholm castle in Sweden. Mystery solved!
Are you questioning Susan Kare's credibility?
I hope the King of Sweden threatens to destroy Apple for copying their Castle, spending all Sweden's money and his dying breath to do so...
How about questioning the credibility of the person who told her it was a castle?
Hrm. It's well-documented that Susan Kare got the symbol from the Swedish point-of-interest sign, but the anonymous fan speculation that it represents Borgholm Castle appears to be false: it's common on Swedish and Scandinavian artifacts that predate the castle by at least 600 years.
Edit: Make that at least 1000 years. Several different castles have stood on the site, but the one with the looped-square shape wasn't begun until 1654.
I don't speak Swedish, so,I've had to rely on Google Translate.
The wikipedia entry for Sevärdhet makes reference to it being used as the logo for Riksantikvarieämbetet, the Swedish National Heritage Board. Its website prominently displays the symbol.
Note the breaks in the line, as if it was a knot of rope. It so happens that the Bowen Knot is the principle rival to the Borgholm Castle theory.
So yeah, Susan Kare is just as gullible as I was.
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