William P. Cresson's Foundry, Willow above Thirteenth 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 U-shaped iron foundry established circa 1846 at Willow Street (also known as James Street), above North 13th Street. Laborers work within the courtyard, at the entryways, and along the complex. In the courtyard, men work on and near a small raised platform in front of the smokestacks of a building with a steeply pitched roof. Stacks of flatbed crates line a small adjacent building across from men at work within the factory, and two men load a horse-drawn cart parked near stacks of lumber and an unhitched cart. In the foreground, a driver leads a two-horse team pulling a coal car down tracks curving into the courtyard, while an empty cart is seen departing on the right. Cresson’s business operated at site until about 1859. 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