In 1903, more than 3,600 organizations were incorporated in Washington State. By 2003, only 37 were still in operation. On February 11, 2003, Mastermark celebrated its 100th year of incorporation with a visit by Washington Secretary of State, Sam Reed. Mr. Reed recognized Mastermark as a “Century Corporation” and, after a short tour of our production facility, he made a presentation to company president, Doug Lane.
Originally founded in 1902 under the name Phoenix Rubber Stamp, there isn’t much known about the company prior to 1918 when Walt Stevens became owner and started building the business. Mr. Stevens believed it would be a good idea to merge resources and banded together with several other small rubber stamp companies to become Pacific Coast Stamp Works, known as "The P.C.”
The P.C. grew into a substantial business throughout the early part of the century, known not only for rubber stamps, but for hundreds of other marking products including signs, police badges, license plates and cast bronze memorial products. In 1930 the company was featured in The Seattle Sunday Times in a full-page article entitled “The Factory That Saves A Million Motions.” The article began by explaining the time saved by using a rubber stamp instead of a fountain pen to initial and mark business papers and checks. It also explained a company-patented process called "The Carrom Index Method" which involved placing an image of the stamp text or graphics at the top of the stamp handle so the user could easily identify the text on each stamp before using it. This method became (and still is) the industry standard for identifying stamp images.
In the 1930’s, several employees separated from the company and formed their own stamp companies, Seattle Rubber Stamp and Puget Sound Stamp Works. About this time, a physician named Elmer Nicholson came into the picture.
Dr. Nicholson received a portion of ownership in The P.C. in exchange for a debt from one of his patients. He became active in the day-to-day running of the business and soon found that the challenges of running a business were more fulfilling to him than his medical practice. Over time he bought out his partners and became sole owner of the Pacific Coast Stamp Works. When he passed away in 1949, the business passed on to his wife, and eventually to his three children. Mary, his youngest child, purchased the shares owned by her siblings to become sole owner of the company in 1960. Her husband, Larry Sheriff, who joined the company in 1956, was President and CEO for 38 years.
During his tenure as President, Larry not only purchased the companies that got their start from Pacific Coast Stamp Works (Seattle Rubber Stamp and Puget Sound Stamp Works) he also added Coast Marking Products which had offices in Seattle and Portland, Oregon; Basin Stamp Works in Pasco, Washington and West Coast Engravers in Tacoma, Washington. After all those acquisitions the company now had over 100 employees and operated in several locations.
In the late seventies through the early eighties all of these operations were streamlined and consolidated into one company called “Mastermark." All of the administrative functions and manufacturing were centralized in the new South Seattle location. This was an extremely challenging period for the newly named company. The building at this new location was extensively renovated and new equipment was brought in to modernize many of the manufacturing processes as well as some of the administrative tasks.
During the next decade various product lines such as campaign buttons and police type badges were discontinued as demand decreased. It was during this time that the company decided to diversify into screenprinting and the Eugene Ellingson Screen Print Company was purchased and relocated into the South Seattle facility. This same commitment to diversification and response to customer needs required additional upgrades of more efficient equipment and processes as the company’s manufacturing capabilities have been expanded over the years.
Mary and Larry’s daughter, Cindy Hutter, became president in 1994 when Larry retired. Under her leadership the company continued to grow and focus on high quality, competitively-priced products. The company also refined its long-standing commitment to Top-of-the-Line customer service. Mastermark has maintained a successful business by committing itself to a varied customer base and making customer relationships a priority. This commitment was so successful that in 2000 other national marking companies began to take interest.
In 2001, Cindy was approached by Doug Lane, president of Schwaab, Inc., a Milwaukee, WI based marking device manufacturer interested in purchasing Mastermark. Schwaab was founded in 1881 and, like Mastermark, is a privately held business. Schwaab is currently the largest manufacturer of stamps in the United States. Doug Lane, the current president is a great-grandson of Schwaab, Inc.’s founder. There are many similarities in the two companies’ long held values and there was a good synergy of their product lines and approach to sales. The timing was perfect and Schwaab became the parent company of Mastermark, which runs as a wholly owned subsidiary and key partner in Schwaab’s future growth.
Mastermark is located at 19017 62nd Ave S in Kent, WA.
Today, Mastermark’s wide range of products includes:
Rubber Stamps & Seals
Traditional and custom rubber stamps
Pre inked / Self inking stamps
Stamp pads and ink
Seals: Notary and Corporate
Nameplates and Namebadges
Rainbow of colors and material choices
Selections to fit every budget
Interior and Exterior Signs
Custom ADA signage
Banners and A-Boards
Plaques and Awards
Donor Recognition Products (Trees and accessories, donor and memorial walls)
Stencils and Ink
Ink for every application
If you are a current Mastermark customer, we THANK YOU for your business. You are the reason we have been here for all these years. If your organization is not a current Mastermark customer, we hope that you will give us an opportunity to earn your business.
Call us for all your marking needs at 206-762-9610 or email your questions to: firstname.lastname@example.org
We look forward to hearing from you.