Rowley, Ashburner and Company's Oil, Alcohol, Fluid and Pine Oil Works. Kensington Screw Dock, Penn Street above Maiden, 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 Kensington Screw Dock on North Penn Street above Maiden Street (later Laurel Street) from the Delaware River. Shipwrights work on the hull of a square-rigged ship raised in the dry dock in front of the firm's building. At the wharf, horse-drawn drays travel past the neighboring oil manufactory and distillery and a captain, with a dog, leans on a hitching post to which a tugboat is tied. In the rough water of the river, skiffs, sailboats, and a rowboat struggle against the choppy waves. The print also shows the neighboring oil manufactory and distillery, surrounding boathouses, wharves, and buildings lining the riverfront. Edward Rowley, Algernon Ashburner, and George B. Keen purchased the Kensington Screw Dock in 1850. They operated as commission merchants and also dealt in many different kinds of oils, materials for varnishes, spirits, and other provisions for shipwrights. 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

T. Sinclair's Lithography, Philadelphia


Title in Original Language

Rowley, Ashburner & Co.'s oil, alcohol, fluid & pine oil works.

Type of Item

Physical Description

1 print : lithograph, tinted and gilted with two stones ; 33 x 54 centimeters


  • Digital catalog number: POS 662


  1. Rease, William H., Philadelphia on Stone Biographical Dictionary, Library Company of Philadelphia,
  2. Smith, R.A. Philadelphia as it is in 1852: Being a Correct Guide to All the Public Buildings; Literary, Scientific, and Benevolent Institutions; and Places of Amusement; Remarkable Objects; Manufacturies; Commercial Warehouses; and Wholesale and Retail Stores in Philadelphia and Its Vicinity (Philadelphia: Lindsay and Blakiston, 1852).

Last updated: September 2, 2015