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Gold Seal and Medora


Medora was a thriving city in 1886, nestled in the Bad Lands of Dakota Territory, but a series of events including blizzards, market fluctuations and the loss of the it's main supporter, the Marquis DeMores, diminished it's significance to all but a small number of businessmen and area ranchers.

After a hiatus of nearly 60 years, it would take another man's dream and wax to bring new life to the town. Harold Schafer was selling linoleum for Fargo Paint and glass and noticed the commercial grade floor waxes were superior to the products being sold to the "housewives." He bought a 55 gallon drum of commercial grade floor wax from Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing, went to the "dumpgrounds" and picked up discarded cans which he cleaned. He typed labels which were taped to the cans and he started selling door to door. He named the product "Gold Seal Floor Wax" because at the time the top selling linoleum was a Congloleum Nairn product named "Gold Seal" His thought was to have the consumer make a connection with top quality. The fledgling company soon expanded and it became necessary to coordinate these markets and the first annual convention of the Gold Seal Company began on this date in 1948. Salesmen arrived in Bismarck from around the country including Chicago, New York, Los Angles and even Delray Beach, Florida. These were the top salesmen and they were in Bismarck to take back some pointers but what they would end up taking back would be a lot of fond memories.

Harold Schafer grew up in North Dakota and covered a lot of territory in his various lines of work. At some point he stopped in Medora and a love affair with the area began. He wanted to share this affection with his salesmen and at the same time provide them with a token of his appreciation for their hard work. Harold contacted some rancher friends and arranged for the salesmen to be taken to Medora for a weekend- Western style. There were few amenities and they were required to rough it under the stars or in tents. Most had never seen a horse, let alone a cow and eating from the chuck wagon and cooking over the open fire was hardly comparable to a fine city restaurant. But they loved it. Some marveled at the quiet of a dark prairie night or were thrilled at the call of a coyote. And when it was over they returned to their respective positions taking along an incentive to exceed in their market area so they could return again. The Medora trip became a plum to award the top achievers and in the end the town of Medora in turn would benefit.

The Gold Seal Company became a huge success which allowed Harold Schafer to invest in his dream to reawaken the slumbering town.

By Jim Davis


Interview with Former Governor Edward I Schafer June 2008.

The Bismarck Capital July 20, 1948