The history of Guldstrom & Co AB is a bit long and not always straight...
Wreck diving in Bohuslän in the '60s
In the 1960s I was looking and dive on shipwrecks.
However, it was not so easy to find the wrecks so I designed a special detector that could find sunken wrecks. Unfortunately, I made a "small error" and happened to make the detector a million times too sensitive.
When I would try it in reality, in the sea, so did the rash of "everything", ie. steel object which was "how small first". The detector was then put on the shelf for so long.
In the late 60's I bought a 30 meter long schooner, built in 1894 in Norway, and would sail to an island called Auckland Island, far south of New Zealand.
Where there would be a wreck that was loaded with 400 kilograms of gold. I would "pick up".
We, my wife, kids Rolf ,Arne and I, did not come that far .
Out in the Atlantic cut the old tändkulemotorn together and we had to sail as best he could against the West Indies. When we had almost reached it blew up a gale and we blew, the middle of the night, straight up on a coral reef.
We got to swim the last bit into the land while the ship broke apart to pieces.
The whole family in front of the house that was our home on St. Kitts in the Caribbean, here we stayed for 6 months.
We were left a little over six months on the island of St. Kitts and it was during that time that I picked up a bit of gold panning.
I got hold of an American diving newsletter. There was an article about American divers, using a kind of "vacuum cleaner" (a dredge), dove into the California streams and sucked up gold in quantities.
For the first time, I saw then the pictures that gems were not huge like potatoes, but they were just as small flakes. The divers also said that they could never quite predict where gold grains were, down in the bottom gravel.
Then I thought of my unsuccessful wreck detector. It could precisely nothing other than finding tiny metal flakes ...
A year after we left Sweden, we were at home in Gothenburg again. I then got hold of a dictionary and thumbed my way to the word "Gold". To my surprise, I read where there was actually an old gold mine at a place called Ädelfors in Småland.
I picked up my detector, modified it some, packed into the family and went to Ädelfors to test the detector.
We ended up in the river Em, just where gold panning is today.
There I began to look for gold and after a short time the detector signaled that there were metal flakes.
I had no gold pan, but a green enamel plate. It had to do. I dug up some gravel and started to pan.
It took well "for a while" before I had tricked out what it would go for.
I just knew that gold was yellow and very heavy. Well, after a while I saw a few small grains and I realized it was gold. Good, then worked the detector.
But, that was not even close as much gold as I had expected.
Home to Gothenburg again, while the skull was working at full speed to build one of those "vacuum cleaner" (a dredge) that American divers had.
It took well a couple of weeks to manufacture it and when it was finished we would go to northern Finland, where there would be lots of gold.
Here you can read the whole history about Guldstrom in Finland (OBS in Swedish)
Once back from Finland, so I continued to develop the detector.
One prototype after another was built. Each model was supposed to be tested out in the harsh reality, but instead of going to Ädelfors or Finland so went every test drive to the western United States.
Where was the gold-bearing sites well described in books from the U.S. Geological Survey, a state body that you probably could trust.
Well, with every test flight, I got new insights and could come home again to further improve the detector, which now went under the working title "Gold Spear".
When I felt it was finished so I sought a patent on the detector. The patent was approved.
A man with plenty of money, bought in on the patent, and we started a small factory in Herrljunga where 8 people built Gold-spear in thousands.
Around the same time so we drew and designed a tool to pressure washing pans, Klondike Special, and was experimenting with a new kind of panning flume, Eldorado Special.
These we manufactured since the plastic factories in Småland.
Then TV heard that there was a "madman" who dug gold in Sweden. This must of course do the program and it was made five feature about how we dug gold in various places in southern Sweden.
Then took it off!
Scores of people called me and said that they also wanted to dig gold. However, they did not know what to do, where they could get hold of equipment for panning etc..
OK. Then we started a gold panning in Herrljunga, where people could come to learn how to pan and able to buy washing pans, trays and the like. There were lots of people!
They also asked a thousand questions about everything about gold digging to do. So, I had to write a book on the subject and it was spent before the ink had dried.
We started a gold panning association, GGF. Every weekend we pulled out of the compound to pan for gold in a river or stream.
This we called the "prospecting" and that was exactly what it was.
In the image to the right shows how we suck up gravel and gold with "Guldströmmare". It is a dredge which does not need a motor. Some might even call is a siphon.
Now, the company had equipment that was understood to convey the message.
It was to go around at trade shows around Sweden. We had a small "pool" as we had built up together with us. We filled it up with water, put on the boots and sat on the edge of the edges to pan gold.
We were a hit at every trade show and people were packed like sardines around the basin to see what we have panned.
We were selling panning pans, books, washing trays, etc., in large quantities.
In the early 90s I was persuaded to move to Ädelfors and (of course) take the company there.
I did so. Guldström & Co AB moved into a house and I moved into the house next door.
Adjacent to our company, there was a sort of panning for gold that did not work so well. We took over and positioned it up.
The idea was that it would be used to train people interested in the art of digging gold but after a little while so was "discovered" by the common people, tourists.
It gushed in people!
We worked from early morning to late at night, both to take care of visitors and manage the company with all that that entailed.
Something new had appeared about the same time, something called the "Internet website".
It sounded exciting. I took an evening class in "homepage development" and then set to "tap code" on your computer, upload them and then we'd see how it worked.
It worked very well and lots of people visited our site. We had to open an e-commerce and it went very well.
Eventually, the workload became too great and then took his son Rolf over and steered the company towards new horizons.
Where we are today. Sales have increased and we have become a leader in Europe. We have subsidiaries in several African countries and retailers across Europe.
Nowadays, both Rolf and I "gone" from Gold panning. Rolf caters Guldström & Co AB, with all that implies. When it comes to gold panning, we feel that we left a "big hole" for us. See image to the right ...
The son Rolf is now managing the company Guldström & Co AB towards new horizons.
Self I live now a "peaceful" pensioner.
Written by Lars Guldström.