T. Wattson and Sons, Biscuit Bakery, 129 North Front Street, Philadelphia


William H. Rease, born in Pennsylvania circa 1818, was the most prolific lithographer of advertising prints in Philadelphia during the 1840s and 1850s. This advertisement shows the busy four-story factory for the bakery at 129 North Front Street, between Chestnut and Walnut Streets. A gentleman, possibly the proprietor Thomas Wattson, stands in one of the open doorways to the bakery as laborers work around him. Near the doorways, workers load kegs onto a horse-drawn "T. Wattson & Sons Biscuit Bakery" wagon and dray. Other men hoist kegs to the upper receiving windows from the sidewalk. Some of the windows reveal men at work, stacks of barrels, and kegs being hammered shut or moved about. The X-shaped anchor plates, as seen at the front left, were connected to interior joint bolts to reinforce the structure of buildings. Thomas Wattson established his business at this address in 1846 and sold it to his son-in-law in 1852, who renamed it Wattson & Company. Rease became active in his trade around 1844, and 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, by 1850 he promoted in O'Brien's Business Directory his own establishment at 17 South Fifth Street, above Chestnut Street. In 1855 he relocated his establishment to the northeast corner of Fourth and Chestnut Streets (after a circa 1853−55 partnership with Francis Schell), where in addition to advertising prints he produced certificates, views, maps, and maritime prints.

Last updated: September 2, 2015