Photo of Desktop Company SealA Brief History of Company Seals

Seals were historically made with wax embossed with an imprint. Their use dates back thousands of years. Today, company seals are made with a machine that has an upper and a lower die that creates an imprint when pressed together tightly.

Throughout history, seals have been used to give significance or legal standing to a varied array of documents. Early Biblical history records the use of a seal. In the Old Testament 1st Kings chapter 21 verse 8 we read: 

“So she wrote letters in Ahab’s name, and sealed them with his seal, and sent the letters unto the elders and to the nobles that were in his city, dwelling with Naboth”.

 This type of seal was originally a wax impression made by a stamped handle or often a ring. Every royal family had an official seal which carried great significance and security. Influential Merchants and legal professionals later adopted this type of seal for authentication purposes.

The type of seal used since the earliest of times for authentication purposes developed into the modern company seal or corporate seal as it is known in the United States.  By the 19th century, seals had developed to include impressions embossed directly onto the paper or embossed onto a legal wafer (a red seal shape adhesive backed piece of paper often referred to as legal wafer, legal seal or company seal wafers).  This type of company seal is used even today on share certificates, official company documents and other legal documents including deeds and official notarized documents. Although in some jurisdictions the legal requirement for a company seal has been relaxed, they continue to be used as a means of giving significance to a document. In company law they often replace the need for the signatures of the directors.  All sealings are recorded in the Statutory Register (often referred to as a company register or a corporate register or kit) that the company or corporation keeps. The section that use of the company seal is recorded in is known as “The Register of Sealings”. These documents are kept at the registered address of the company and must be available for inspection by that jurisdiction which governs the company law for that company.  If a sealing is not recorded in the Register of Sealings it would be of no legality. Thus seals still offer great security and authentication. For this reason company seals are still in common use and are particularly useful when managing a company. The outlined use of the company seal can be incorporated into the official Constitution of the Company. 

Seals have been around for thousands of years and in today’s digital age they still seem set to endure.