The story of Guldström & Co AB is long. And sometimes a bit curvy ...
Wreck diving in Bohuslän in the 60s.
In the 1960s I searched and dived for shipwrecks. However, finding a wreck was not easy, so I designed a special detector that could find sunken wrecks. Unfortunately, I did something "a bit wrong" and made the detector a million times too sensitive. When I tried it in reality, it found "everything" in the ocean, i.e. metal objects that were "small". The detector was then first placed on the shelf.
In the late 1960s, I bought a 30 meter ship built in Norway in 1894 and sailed to an island called Auckland, far south of New Zealand.
There would be a wreck there loaded with 400 kilos of gold. I would "lift" it.
We, my wife, the children Arne and Rolf and I did not really get that far.
Out on the Atlantic, the old engine broke down and we sailed as far as possible to the Caribbean. When we nearly reached the end of the storm, we landed right on a coral reef in the middle of the night.
We managed to swim the last bit too shore while the ship broke apart on the reef.
The whole family in front of the house that was our home on St. Kitts in the Caribbean, we stayed here for 6 months.
We stayed on the island of St. Kitts for more than six months, and it was during this time that I caught a glimpse of panning for gold.
I got an American dive magazine. There was an article about American divers who used a sort of "vacuum cleaner" (a dredge) to drive into the California rivers and suck up amounts of gold. For the first time I saw in pictures that golden grains were not as big as potatoes, they were rather small flakes.
The divers also said that they could never really predict where the gold was exactly.
Then I remembered my failed wreckage detector. There could be nothing better to find tiny flakes ...
One year after we left Sweden, we were back in Gothenburg. I then took an encyclopedia and searched for the word "gold". To my surprise, I read that there was an old gold mine at a place called Ädelfors in Småland.
I took my detector, changed something, grabbed the family and went to Ädelfors to test the detector.
We finally landed at the Emån, right where gold is being washed today.
I started searching for gold and within a short time the detector signaled that there was metal flakes.
I did not have a goldpan but a green enameled plate. It was hard. I dug up some gravel and began to pan it. I only knew that gold was yellow and very heavy. Well, after a while I saw a few small grains and I understood that it was gold. Well, then the detector worked.
But there was not as much gold as I expected
We went home to Gothenburg while my brain was working on building a "vacuum cleaner" (a dredge) like the American divers had.
It took a few weeks to build it and when it was finished, we would go to northern Finland, where there was a lot of gold.
After my return from Finland I developed the detector further.
One prototype after another was built. Each model was tried in the harsh reality, but instead of going to Ädelfors or Finland, each test trip went to the western United States.
There, the gold deposits were well-documented in books by the United States Geological Survey, a government agency likely to be trusted.
Well, on each test trip I got new insights and was able to further improve the detector at home, now under the working name "Goldspear".
When I thought he was done, I registered the detector with the Patent Office. The patent was approved.
A man with a lot of money invested in the patent and we founded a small factory in Herrljunga, where 8 people built the gold spear by the thousands.
At the same time, we developed a mold for pressing gold pans, the Klondike Special, and experimented with a new type of sluice box, the Eldorado Special. We then made these in plastic factories in Småland.
Then the television recalled that there was a "madman" who was digging gold in Sweden. Of course they have to do programs and there were 5 episodes about how we dug gold in different places in southern Sweden.
Then it started!
Many people called me and said they would like to dig for gold as well. They did not know where to get the gold digging equipment, etc.
OK. Then we started a gold panning site in Herrljunga, here people could learn to pan with gold pans, sluice boxes and the like and also buy them.
There were many people! They also asked a thousand questions about everything that had to do with gold mining. So I had to write a book on the subject, and I did that before the enthusiasm was gone
We have founded a gold mining association, GGF. Every weekend we went out with the club to wash gold in someone's creek.
We called this "exploration" and that was exactly what it was.
The picture above shows how we graze gravel and gold with the "Golden Stream". It's a dredge that does not need a motor pump.
Now that the company had equipment, it was of course necessary to spread this message. It made the rounds at fairs in Sweden.
We had a small "pool", which we tinkered. We filled it with water, put on our boots and sat on the edge to pan coarse gold.
We were successful at every show and people gathered around the pool to see how it would be panned. We also sold gold pans, books, sluices and more in large quantities.
In the early 1990s, I was persuaded to move to Ädelfors and (of course) bring our company there. And I did that. Guldström & Co AB moved into a house and I moved to the house next door.
In addition to our company, there was a kind of gold panning site, which did not work so well. We have taken over and improved it. The idea was to use these to educate interested people in the art of gold panning, but after a while it was "discovered" by "ordinary" people, tourists. It was a hit with people! We worked from early morning till late at night, taking care of the visitors and the management.
Something new had appeared at the same time; something called "Website on the Internet". It was exciting. I did an evening class in "website design" and then started "coding" on the computer, uploaded it and then we saw what it looked like.
It worked very well and many people visited our website. We opened an e-commerce and it went very well. In the end, the workload became much too big, and then Rolf took over and drove the company to new horizons.
There we are today. Sales have increased and we have become one of the leading companies in Europe. We have subsidiaries in several African countries and dealers throughout Europe.
Today Rolf and I are "away" from the gold panning. Rolf takes care of all matters of Guldström & Co AB. With regard to panning for gold, we feel that we have left a "big hole". See the picture above ...
Rolf pushes Guldström & Co AB further into new horizons.
I myself now live a "quiet" retirement life.
Written by Lars Guldström.