The Lamb Seal and Stencil Co., which has stamped, scribed and cast signs for Washington-area businesses since 1900, is quitting its quarters at 824 13th Street NW to move up 14th street to join the renewal of the Logan Circle area.
The old 13th Street building, once a restaurant, where Richard L. Lamb moved the company around 1927, is now more valuable as a parking lot than an office building, and that is likely to be its fate, says Richard Lamb Peters, the founder's grandson. "It has no historical value," said Peters. It might be revived as a restaurant, but "tenants are pretty hard to come by here."
Peters, a Washington attorney, is turning direction of the company over to two of its officers. Julius Schmelz will replace Peters as chairman, and Robert Schneider will become president.
The company is the city's oldest sign maker and one of the few manufacturing companies left in the district, says Peters. It makes "everything but electric signs," says Schmelz. "We may be a little old-fashioned," he adds, although the company's brass name plates are now engraved by computer.
The company has remained profitable during the recession, said Schmelz--just as it endured the Depression of the 1930s. Employes worked only two or three days a week then, but no one was fired, said Schmelz. Nor have there been business-related layoffs this time, he added.
Lamb, who ran the business until he died in 1960, at 89, was a founder of the Rotary Club of Washington. The company's roots in the city are deep and permanent, said Peters.