Cornelius & Baker, Manufacturers of Lamps, Chandeliers, Gas Fixtures, Et cetera. Columbia Avenue & Fifth 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 large Cornelius and Baker industrial building occupying most of the 500 block of Columbia Avenue. Near one of the entries, a man holds a horse hitched to a sulky as an omnibus is about to round the corner. In the foreground, passengers board the Germantown Road North Fifth Street omnibus, as a man on horseback approaches. Christian Cornelius, a Dutch immigrant silversmith, founded his lighting business in 1827, which became Cornelius, Baker, and Company in 1835. By the 1850s, it operated the factory illustrated here, another on Cherry Street, and a store at 176 Chestnut Street. The firm initially made brass lighting fixtures but later also made zinc fixtures and sculptures, some of which were installed in the United States Capitol. The business was succeeded by Cornelius and Sons and Baker, Arnold and Company in 1869. 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.
Printed by Wagner & McGuigan, Philadelphia
Title in Original Language
Cornelius & Baker, manufacturers of lamps, chandeliers, gas fixtures, etc. Manufactories: No. 181 Cherry St & Columbia Avenue & 5th St, Philadelphia. Store, 176 Chestnut Street.
Type of Item
1 print : lithograph, tinted with two stones ; 30 x 58 centimeters
- Digital catalog number: POS 163
- Grissom, Carol A., The Zinc Statuettes of Cornelius and Baker (Henry Francis du Pont Winterthur Museum, 2012).
- Grissom, Carol A., Zinc Sculpture in America, 1850−1950 (Newark: University of Delaware Press, 2009).
- Rease, William H., Philadelphia on Stone Biographical Dictionary, Library Company of Philadelphia, http://www.lcpdigital.org.
Last updated: September 2, 2015