George Mecke, Cabinet Maker and Upholsterer. Number 355, North Second Street, Nearly Opposite Tammany Street, Philadelphia


This advertising print from 1846 shows the four-story storefront with decorative masonry of the cabinet maker and upholsterer George Mecke, located at 355 North Second Street, between Noble and Green Streets (later the 500 block), Philadelphia. A couple enters the showroom through the door on the left. Furniture, including a side table, chaise lounge, armoire, and rocker are visible at the entrances, display window, and within the store. A woman, in a shawl and holding a parasol, approaches the chairs displayed at the second entrance. She stands across from two clerks retrieving a chair from the cellar to be loaded onto a horse-drawn cart parked in the street that already contains a chest of drawers. Additional cabinetry is seen in the upper windows. The image also shows parts of the neighboring businesses, Dubois & Son’s Confectionary at number 357, and P. Fries, watchmaker, at number 353. Mecke relocated to 355 North Second Street and was a neighbor to Dubois and Fries circa 1846. The print is by William H. Rease, the most prolific lithographer of advertising prints in Philadelphia during the 1840s and 1850s. Born in Pennsylvania circa 1818, Rease became active in his trade around 1844. Through the 1850s he mainly worked with printers Frederick Kuhl and Wagner & McGuigan in the production of advertising prints known for their portrayals of human details. Although Rease often collaborated with other lithographers, a listing in O'Brien's Business Directory indicates that by 1850 he had founded his own establishment at 17 South Fifth Street, north of Chestnut Street. After a partnership with Francis Schell that lasted from about 1853 to 1855, in 1855 he relocated his shop to the northeast corner of Fourth and Chestnut Streets, where, in addition to advertising prints, he produced certificates, views, maps, and maritime prints.

Last updated: January 8, 2018