Every city organized pursuant to Section 34501 of the Government Code shall have a common seal, alterable at the pleasure of the legislative body. The City Clerk is custodian of the seal.
Excerpts of the Minutes leading up to the adoption of the City seal are below:
First meeting of the Board of Trustees of the City of Torrance held May 16, 1921.
"Motion made by Mr. Stone that the President (George A. Proctor) appoint a committee to submit plans and designs for an official seal for the City. Motion duly seconded and carried. The president appointed Messrs. Stone and Fitzhugh on this committee.
Adjourned regular meeting of the Board of Trustees held on June 7, 1921.
"Trustee Fitzhugh reported that he had a sketch of a design for the City seal which he submitted for the approval of the Board and stated that the cost of same would be $23.50. Upon motion of Trustee Stone, seconded by Trustee Smith the seal be adopted as corrected. Motion carried. Motion by Trustee Gilbert, seconded by Trustee Smith that the committee be empowered to purchase the seal at the price previously mentioned. Motion carried."
There is nothing in writing in the City's records that can be found to determine why the committee in 1921 selected the particular design that later became our official City seal.
The original seal showed a lady wearing a loose-fitting Grecian robe. She was seated on a throne or platform with toes of one foot revealed. In her right hand she held a hammer; in her left a lyre. At her left side stood a shovel, and in the foreground near her left leg appeared what might have been a sheaf of grain. In the background, on either side of the lady, were buildings, one appeared to be a factory and other apparently a house or barn.
In 1955 or 1956, the seal, having worn down where no impression of the lady could be seen on City records, was recast, after which the lady appeared in an upright position, apparently carrying a book.
In 1963 City Clerk Coil informed the Council that the seal was in such poor condition that it was impossible to determine the design from the imprint. City fireman Sam Hughes drew a facsimile of the original seal after studying early magnified images on old City documents.
At the Council meeting held on January 14, 1964, "it was acknowledged that even the reproduction is not an accurate portrayal of the seal as it originally existed although it is as close as it is possible to do so." Councilman Benstead then moved to authorize use of the seal as reproduced, or redesigned. The motion carried unanimously.
The seal was then again recast to conform with the approved design as prepared by fireman Hughes.