Andrew Schwaab, founder of Schwaab, Inc., was born in New York in 1853. He moved to Milwaukee as a young boy and went to work as a storekeeper for his uncle's furniture store on Milwaukee's south side.
In 1881, Andrew founded the Northwestern Stamp Company in Milwaukee and added two branches — one in St. Paul where his brother George was manager and one in Chicago with brother Theodore managing. Finding it difficult to operate in three locations, the two branches were sold and operations consolidated in Milwaukee.
On May 8, 1888, the company incorporated and changed its name to Schwaab Stamp and Seal Company. Andrew successfully continued and expanded the business until he died on April 19, 1911.
From 1911 to 1946, interest remained in the Schwaab family. Berthold Fueger was General Manager for those 35 years which encompassed the difficult years of the Great Depression and two world wars. He died in 1946.
In 1946, general supervision of the company passed to the two eldest Schwaab grandchildren, George A. Mayer and John A. S. Lane, who, together with their mothers, served as the company's board of directors. In 1955, R. Daniel Nettesheim joined Schwaab and shortly thereafter was appointed general manager of the company.
Upon the deaths of Andrew's daughters, ownership of the company passed to their sons, John A. S. Lane, William N. Lane, George A. Mayer and Richard S. Mayer. By 1970, these four were taking an active hand in supervising the business as Schwaab's Board of Directors.
Over the years, Schwaab purchased several smaller companies in the marking device field. There came to be a total of four corporations under the Schwaab roof: the Schwaab Stamp and Seal Company, the Schwaab Engraving Company, the Schwaab Label Company, and the Schwaab Rubber Art Company. On January 1, 1973, the four corporations were combined into one — the Schwaab Stamp and Seal Company. A few months later, the company's name was changed to Schwaab, Inc.
Since 1997, Schwaab has made a series of strategic acquisitions including Mastermark (Seattle), Mohawk Stamp (Chicago), AWT (Los Angeles), GB Products (San Francisco), FRS Spectra (Fresno) and Classic Impressions (Atlanta and Little Rock).
Today, over 126 years later, Schwaab, Inc. ownership continues to remain solely among the descendants of Andrew Schwaab and their families. Schwaab’s current Board of Directors includes Richard Schwaab Mayer (grandson of Andrew Schwaab), George L. Mayer (great grandson of Andrew Schwaab) and Sarah Noble Lane Starrett (great granddaughter of Andrew Schwaab).