Harrison Brothers' White Lead Works and Chemical Laboratory, 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 a bird's eye view of the chemical works of Harrison Brothers near Fitler and Harrison Streets in Frankford, lower northeast Philadelphia. The signs on the buildings, from left to right, read "Pyro Acid Works," "Sulphuric Acid Works," "Sugar Lead Works," "White Lead Works," "Alum Works," and "Copperas Works." The scene includes laborers pushing wheelbarrows, putting coal in a furnace, and hoisting barrels using a block-and-tackle pulley system. Deer and horses graze the fields in the tree-lined fields behind the chemical works. Established circa 1793, Harrison Brothers operated, by the time of the Civil War, plants in New York, Maryland, and Philadelphia. It operated this plant in Frankford until about 1870. 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

Printed by Wagner & McGuigan, Philadelphia


Title in Original Language

Harrison Brothers' white lead works & chemical laboratory, Philadelphia.

Type of Item

Physical Description

1 print : lithograph ; 32 x 64 centimeters


  • Digital catalog number: POS 341


  1. Cervaux, Augustin, “Paints and Varnishes,” in The Encyclopedia of Greater Philadelphia, http://philadelphiaencyclopedia.org/archive/paints-and-varnishes/
  2. Rease, William H., Philadelphia on Stone Biographical Dictionary, Library Company of Philadelphia, http://www.lcpdigital.org

Last updated: September 2, 2015