Robert Wood's Steam Iron Railing Works, Ridge Road Above Buttonwood 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 long and narrow steam-powered iron railing works on the 1100 block of Ridge Road owned by Robert Wood. Signboards on the facade advertise "Wood's steam iron railing manufactory, all kinds of ornamental & architectural iron work made to order" and "manufacturer of iron railings for cemeteries." Laborers are visible through the open windows and doors on all levels of the factory. Two men carry an iron piece into the building past a display of ornamental iron sculpture, which includes a large lyre. Workers in the street load and unload iron railings and bars. A crowded Girard College & Exchange line omnibus traveling north on Ridge Road has stopped by the factory, and children play on a makeshift seesaw alongside. The image is surrounded by a border of iron-work models; at the base are steps with ornate iron railings and a grand ornamental gateway. Wood’s firm was the largest supplier of sculptural and ornate ironwork to the Laurel Hill Cemetery in the mid-19th century. 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.

Date Created

Subject Date

Publication Information

Wagner & McGuigan?, Philadelphia


Title in Original Language

Robert Wood's steam iron railing works, Ridge Road above Buttonwood St, Philadelphia

Type of Item

Physical Description

1 print : lithograph ; 60 x 45 centimeters


  • Digital catalog number: POS 656


  1. Rease, William H., Philadelphia on Stone Biographical Dictionary, Library Company of Philadelphia,
  2. Library Company of Philadelphia,

Last updated: September 2, 2015