George W. Watson, Coach and Harness Maker, Philadelphia


This advertising print from around 1847 shows views of the George W. Watson factory at 13th and Parrish Streets and the factory and showroom at Old Stand number 9, South Sixth Street. The upper view shows the factory complex with workshops, courtyard, and sheds surrounded by a wood fence on the 800 block of North 13th Street. Within the courtyard, wheelwrights work on a wheel propped up next to a blazing fire. Other workers engaged on other tasks are surrounded by carriage parts, a horse in a single stall, and piles of wood. Carriages and coaches and metalworkers at a forge are visible. A wagon maker also works on vehicles on a balcony attached to the upper floor of the main workshop. The lower view shows the factory and showroom on the 100 block of South Sixth Street. Through the two open entries, a clerk is visible showing a couple one of several carriages that line the showroom floor. Outside the building, a gentleman gestures to a handler of two horses hitched to a coach in the street. A laborer enters the cellar of the showroom below the window that displays harnesses, horse equipment, and a small-model coach. Three unhitched carriages and coaches line the street in front of the adjoining building marked "Geo. W. Watson Coach & Harness Maker." Laborers work at some of the windows at the upper floors of the two buildings. Partial views of adjacent businesses complete the view. The print also contains vignette views of a fancy coach, from the rear, and a carriage, from the front, with spirited horses in motion. 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