J. Hartman's Biscuit Bakery. Number 90 Penn Street, Philadelphia


This advertising print from around 1846 shows the biscuit bakery operated by J. Hartman at 90 Penn Street (then also called 90 South Wharves, now 412 South Delaware Avenue), Philadelphia. Signage adorning the building advertises "Crackers, Sugar & Soda Biscuit, Pilot, Ship & Navy Bread Wholesale & Retail." Employees and patrons enter and exit the building past stacks of barrels and are visible through the open entranceways and receiving windows; they are seen climbing stairs, discussing business, and inspecting barrels. In front of the business, under a large store banner, a patron and clerk converse and employees load a horse-drawn cart with provisions. At the side of the building, a driver with a horse-drawn cart in the alley prepares to receive a barrel to be hoisted down from the third floor of the bakery. A sailor stands at the opposite street corner, and a block or two away part of a docked square-rigged ship can be seen. 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: September 2, 2015