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.