Gamble Skogmo Vignette from the late 1970s
Gamble Skogmo were not manufacturers, but a large retail chain that sold many products either under their own name, or under their own brand name, for example "Artisan". The most common Gamble Skogmo pressure lantern is the 3006, made by American Gas Machines. This is a small gasoline lantern with a mica globe and a green fount and hood.
Bertin Gamble went to school as a young boy in Hunter, North Dakota, then in 1895, when he was 7 years old, his family moved to Arthur, also in N.D. and there he became good friends with another schoolboy, Phil Skogmo, whose father was the Arthur railroad agent. The friendship was to last for life, and after high school the two youngsters found themselves in business school in Minneapolis in 1914. Their first business venture was the Hudson-Essex auto dealership in Fergus Falls, which they bought for $10,000 after scraping together all their joint resources in 1920. They were among the first dealers ever to sell cars on a monthly purchase plan, so making auto transport available to many people who otherwise would not have been able to afford the luxury of a car. Then Gamble made a remarkable discovery, that the spare parts department was making as much profit as all the other departments put together, and the two men decided to try to develop a number of autoparts stores. The first Gamble Auto store opened in 1925 in St. Cloud, Minnesota, and others soon followed in what some historians see as the first example of "chain" stores.
This enterprise eventually went on to cover Canada and 38 of the states in the USA, with over 4,200 outlets. The company almost made it into the top 100 North American companies! Bert Gamble was company president from 1925, then Board Chairman until he retired in 1977. The company was owned entirely by employees until 1947 when the company sold stock publicly for the first time to finance continued expansion. In the company's heyday, Gamble Skogmo stores sold just about every hardware item imaginable.
A Gamble Skogmo farm radio
Phil Skogmo died in 1949, and Bert Gamble in 1988, but the two men left behind not only a great success story, but a philanthropic legacy seen in the Gamble Skogmo Foundation and the Gamble-Skogmo Chair at the University of Minnesota, reflecting their strong interest in bettering conditions for the children and youth in our society.
In 1948 each man established a charitable foundation bearing his name, and two foundations merged in 1982 to become the Gamble-Skogmo Foundation. The Gamble Skogmo mission is to provide leadership in the development of a unique academic and community-based program focused on preventive strategies for serving at-risk children, youth and families.
The company eventually went out of business in 1982, soon after being taken over by the Wickes Corporation, but part of the company lives on in the Our Own Hardware Store chain. Other associated names are Gamble department stores, Red Owl grocery stores and Snyder drug stores.
Anonymous (2002) Article on Scripophily.com (http://shop.store.yahoo.com/scripophily/gamskoginc.html)
Knutson J. (1999) - The Forum -13th March1999 (http://www.in-forum.com/specials/century/jan3/week11.html)
State of North Dakota (2002) Awards & recognition, State of North Dakota, Office of the Governor (http://www.governor.state.nd.us/awards/rr-gallery/gamble.html)
University of Minnesota (2002) The Gamble-Skogmo Mission (http://ssw.che.umn.edu/Gamble-Skogmo/GS_Home_page.htm)
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