Joseph Oat and Son, Coppersmiths. Number 12 Quarry Street, Philadelphia


This advertising print from 1847 shows the premises of Joseph Oat & Son, coppersmiths, located at 12 Quarry Street, Philadelphia. The Oat family business was established in 1788 by Joseph’s father Jesse Oat; Joseph took his son George R. Oat into the firm in 1843. In 1857, the address changed to 232−34 Quarry Street. Workmen can be seen through the wide front door, hammering, cutting, and performing other metal-working tasks, while finished products of different shapes and sizes, including cauldrons, a bell, and a distiller, are arrayed on the sidewalk, awaiting shipment. The panels at the bottom explain that Oat & Son could do work for “Locomotive and Stationary Engines, Sugar Houses on the old or Vacuum Plan, Distilleries, Manufactories, Soda Water Apparatuses, and generally every description of Copper work.” This information is provided in Spanish and French as well as English, suggesting interest in the export trade even at this relatively early stage in the industrialization of the United States. 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