Henry Walter Klein was born June 19, 1919 in Vennesla, a small town in Norway. He was an active young boy, balancing his love of books with swimming, hiking, and winter sports, and early education as a sailor on the Sørlandet, a Norwegian training ship.
This background did not suggest a future career in furniture design, but the twists and turns of life led him in that exact direction. H.W. Klein was very multitallented and as a young man, he studied mathematics and linguistics and gained a number of degrees throughout his life. During World War II he joined the Norwegian Royal Marines, and it was while serving there that H.W. Klein first turned his pursuits towards carpentry.
After two years of cabinet making, in 1949 he moved to Denmark to study interior design at the prestigious Frederiksberg Tekniske Skole in Copenhagen, where he was taught by the well-known Danish architect and interior designer, Finn Juhl. It was during this time H.W. Klein received the important inspiration for the innovative and original design that was to fashion his entire career as a designer.