T. Sharpless and Sons, Wholesale Ware Room, Clothes, Cassimeres, Merinoes, Silks and Vestings. Pekin Tea Company and Tea Room. South Second Street and Trotter's Alley, Philadelphia


This 1846 advertising print shows a four-story building located at 30-32 South Second Street, below Market Street in Philadelphia. The double storefronts have signage advertising the “Wholesale Ware Room” of “T. Sharpless & Sons,” as well as the “Tea Store” of the Pekin Tea Company. Massive merchandise displays adorn the windows and front facades of the businesses. At the wareroom, reams of different cloths hang from rods within open windows. Tables are covered in swatches and bolts of cloth. A number of patrons, including women and a couple, admire the displays. Some enter the store; the shadowy figures of female clerks are visible inside. More merchandise is visible in showcase spaces on the second floor, including bolts of cloth and cloth-covered hat boxes. At the tea store, couples exit and enter the business, and a clerk stands within the store. Several boxes of tea are piled between the Chinese figurines displayed in the window. Potted plants adorn the windows on the third floor, between which hangs a large model of a box of tea. In front of the store, boxes of tea are piled under a frame for an awning that displays a sign advertising, "Fresh Teas." Manhole covers and a fire hydrant are seen on the sidewalk. Around the corner of the building, a woman and a girl walk past a horse-drawn dray traveling down a side alley to Strawberry Street, which is partially visible in the background. This print also shows partial views of adjacent buildings. The Pekin Tea Company relocated to Sixth and Callowhill streets in 1847. The textile firm established by Townsend Sharpless in 1815 moved to this address in 1841 under the name T. Sharpless & Son; in 1842, the firm was renamed T. Sharpless & Sons. This lithograph was created by Robert F. Reynolds, an artist born circa 1818 in Pennsylvania, and known for his fine-detailed architectural advertising prints. The printer was Wagner & McGuigan, a firm that specialized in the production of advertising prints.

Last updated: October 30, 2015