A great business often grows out of a small beginning. The rubber stamp business of the Fred L. Lake company began in a very humble way and from a rather unusual incident.
Back in 1889, Fred L. Lake, out of a job and down to his last half dollar, sought for employment in Dallas and found it by trading an old Swiss watch for a rubber stamp outfit from the son of a former owner of The (Dallas) Times Herald. Mr. Lake had acquired a business running under the name of the Dallas Engraving & Manufacturing company. He rented a small office in an old frame building on Commerce Street and started out to get orders. After working all day on the streets soliciting orders he would return to his office and work far into the night making them up so as to be able to deliver them promptly the next morning.
According to a 1924 newspaper article on the business, "For thirty-five years Fred L. Lake & Co., manufacturers of rubber stamps, badges, buttons, stencils and seals, have been supplying these essentials to commercial and industrial establishments of Dallas. The plant at 1015 Elm street is thoroughly equipped to manufacture all the products named above. There are ten to fifteen employees in the plant and prompt service is one of the principles on which the enterprise is operated." "Rubber stamps for the banks and larger business houses constitute the chief product of the company, though the other products are in continuous demand. There is hardly a business house in Dallas that has not used the rubber stamps made by the Lake company." "Mr. Lake had a hard struggle in his early days, but by the hustle and attention to business he has kept pace with the growth of Dallas, which he has seen grow from a small village to a prosperous and magnificent city. From the small office on Commerce street to an entire building in the center of the shopping district on Elm street shows that it is such men as Mr. Lake who have made possible the prosperity and growth of Dallas."
Fred L. Lake passed away in Dallas at age 65 in 1934.
J. W. (Johnny) Lake, the founder's son, managed the business for many years until the 1950's when upon his death, his wife Martha Shuffield Lake, took control. After her tenure, Robert (Bob) Shuffield, ran the stamp operation in conjunction with his CPA business until 1989.
Shuffield sold the business in 1989 (its 100th anniversary) to a recent college graduate who in turn sold the company to its current owner in 1992.
David Atwell acquired the business on July 1, 1992.