Choose The Best Shade

Trade Card. J & P Coats. Circa1880s – 1890s.

Price:  $15.00               Size:  About 4 and 1/8 x 2 and 5/8″

Such a pretty card and with a clever caption! The stripes going through the waves remind me of the zigzag pattern in clothes that has materialized (just a happy coincidence on the pun) on the scene in the world of fashion in recent years, and the design on the back of the card that surrounds the lettering in bold, is delicate and almost mechanical-looking.

J & P Coats you will instantly recognize as a mega company in the world of thread. I checked my sewing tin just now and found all the labels as either Coats, under the current Coats Group logo, Clark O.N.T. (Our New Thread) or Coats & Clark.

Sources:  Coats Group. n.d. (accessed February 25, 2018).

Coats. TRC Leiden. (accessed February 25, 2018).

Federal Pure Food Company Of Chicago

Federal Pure Food Company Holiday Card. Circa 1919 – 1920s.

Price:  $15.00             Size:  6 and 1/4 x 4 and 7/8″

‘Tis the season….for shopping! Here’s a beautiful Christmas/New Year’s card, probably from the 1920s, showing a nostalgic 19th-century scene of busy holiday shoppers on a snow-covered street.

“We extend to our friends and customers our hearty good wishes for the Holiday Season and may the New Year bring an abundance of Happiness and Prosperity.

Federal Pure Food Company. Chicago, Illinois.”

Does anyone remember any Federal Pure Food Co. labels on maybe vanilla extract or other extracts used in baking? Could be a wacked-out 😉 memory on my part, but I seem to recall old extract bottles in the back of our spice cupboard as a child with this company name. If so, the extracts were already old as the last advertisement found for the company was in 1935. And according to another news clipping, they established in 1895, though no references were found prior to 1919 when their sales ads begin showing up in newspapers across the country and in magazines like Popular Mechanics. Federal’s last known given address for correspondence was 2946 Lake St., Chicago, though for most of their advertised existence they were located on Archer Avenue.

Below, a clip from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, September 4, 1921 which listed the company as:  “The Federal Pure Food Company, 2301 – 2319 Archer Ave., Chicago, ILL. Largest packers of pure food specialties in the world.”

A Honolulu, Hawaii agent ad from the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, September 23, 1921:

The ad from August 13, 1922  for “Agents” appearing in The Tampa Tribune, states the Federal Pure Food Company had been established “since 1895.”

Sources:  “When you have tried everything else.” The Pittsburgh Press, February 17, 1935. Sunday, p. 42. (

“No Dull Times In The Food Business.” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, September 4, 1921. Sunday, p. 26. (

” ‘Federal’ Concentrated Ready-To-Cook Preparations.” Honolulu Star-Bulletin, September 23, 1921. Friday, p. 5. (

The Tampa Tribune, August 13, 1922. Sunday, p. 27. (

Elephant’s Head and Gate of Crawford Notch

Trade Card for H. Thompson’s Grand Soap, Buffalo, NY. Circa 1879 – 1886. Lithographer:  Clay & Richmond, Buffalo, NY.

Price:  $12.00           Size:  About 3 and 3/8 x 5 and 3/8″

Another H. Thompson’s Grand Soap trade card, this one showing the rock formation, Elephant’s Head, the gate of Crawford Notch, in the White Mountains, New Hampshire, and a stage coach continuing on its way, after coming through the pass. (We’re using this card to segue from trade cards, in general, to a short upcoming Western theme.) But, anyway, she’s a beauty, a little soiled, but there don’t seem to be too many H. Thompson’s out there currently. This one might have been one of a series of well-known locations as there’s another card that can be found for the soap manufacturer (at Hagley Digital Archives) of Monument Rock, Echo Canyon. Curiously, “Grand” the brand name of soap, is not turning up in online searches, so exactly when Grand Soap was introduced and how long it was manufactured is unknown.

Clay & Richmond, lithographers, Buffalo.

As for the printer, they are Clay & Richmond. Per the 1879 Buffalo City Directory, the firm was Hugh M. Clay, W. E. Richmond and Henry A. Richmond. 1878 shows Clay and Co. (Hugh Clay and W. E. Richmond). Prior to 1878 Clay had been part of Clay, Cosack & Co. And we see Clay & Richmond listed in city directories as late as 1886 (Clay with H. A. Richmond). C & R’s location was in the Coit block, W. Swan, corner of Pearl. To do the company justice more research would be needed so we’ll just put up this quick offering for now. Our card is the second one we have, the first being Queen Anne Soap, Detroit Soap Co.

Sources:  Crawford Notch. n.d. (accessed November 10, 2017).

The Courier Co.’s Buffalo City Directories, 1877 – 1886. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995.

H. Thompson’s Grand Soap

Trade Card for H. Thompson’s Grand Soap, Buffalo, NY. Lithographer:  Gies & Co., Buffalo, NY. Circa 1874 – 1890s.

Price:  $15.00           Size:  3 and 1/16 x 4 and 11/16″

“Ask your grocer for H. Thompson’s Grand Soap, Manufactured only by H. Thompson, 270 to 280 Perry, & 233 to 241 Chicago St., Buffalo, N.Y.”

Here’s a gorgeous card in peach and blue of a little girl holding her doll, and standing in front of a wooden trellis upon which a flowering vine is supported. Though the card says “over” at the bottom right, there is nothing on the reverse. This is another card by Gies & Co.

Hugh Thompson, soap and candle manufacturer

According to his obituary appearing in the Buffalo Commercial, “Mr. Thompson was born in Carhill, Ireland, February 29, 1824. He came to this country with his parents as a young boy. After spending about two years in parts of New York state and Ohio, the family settled in Buffalo in 1833.”

Hugh Thompson manufactured soap and candles (and was a dealer in soap making supplies) at the corner of Perry and Chicago streets in Buffalo for around thirty-seven years. He and his wife, Rebecca (Bell) Thompson, also native of Ireland, had four children, Mary, William, Louisa and Clara, all born in New York. Hugh died April 1, 1905 at his home in Yellow Springs, Ohio.

Per the below 1881 Buffalo city directory ad, the business was established in 1853:

A kind-hearted man

Where was Carhill, Ireland? It’s not found on a present-day map, but may have been the same “townsland” mentioned in The Guardian (London, England) news clipping from 1858, shown below:

Sources:   The Courier Co.’s Buffalo City Directory, 1881. pp. 173, 656. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995. (

“Obituary. Hugh Thompson.” The Buffalo Commercial, April 3, 1905. Monday, p. 5. (

Year: 1880; Census Place: Buffalo, Erie, New York; Roll: 828; Family History Film: 1254828; Page: 8C; Enumeration District: 119. (

Hugh Thompson. Memorial # 75112709.

“Counties Of Wexford And Carlow.” The Guardian, (London, England) June 8, 1858. Tuesday, p. 1. (

A Pleasant Reflection

Trade card, Soapine. Kendall Mfg. Co. Donaldson Bros. Lithographers, circa 1870s – 1890s.

Price:  $7.00          Size:  2 and 15/16 x 4 and 1/4″

Kendall Manufacturing Co.’s Soapine, had a very long run, from 1827 to the late 1950s;  here is yet another example of the Victorian Era advertising for the product, one of many that can be found online. The card’s condition is not great, note the crease and there’s a small tear in the top right and a little of the wording torn off of the back, but still it’s a beautiful and imaginative design:  A Tahitian-haired little lady in pink and blue (and love that yellow hat) somehow, lol, blowing a bubble that has the Soapine box inside. Note the iridescence to the bubbles, the lady’s shadow, and the wood flooring. (It always seems like in noticing the details we’re transported back in time; we imagine a sense of the artist’s thought process…..adding in the lady’s bracelets….)

Donaldson Bros., Five Points, N. Y.

Our trade card is the second one we have for Donaldson Brothers, of Five Points, NY. See also B.J. Stone Trade Card, New Haven, CT. And per MetroPostcard, Donaldson Bros. was Frank J., George W., John L. and Robert M. Donaldson, and operated from about 1872 – 1891 before being consolidated with the American Lithographic Company. The 1878 New York City directory shows all four brothers as lithographers, at the address of 4 Mission Place. Five Points was a neighborhood in Lower Manhattan, NY.

Sources:  Donaldson Brothers 1872 – 1891 “D – Publishers.” MetroPostcard. (accessed November 4, 2017).

Trow’s New York City Directory, 1878. Vol. 91, p. 356. (

Five Points, Manhattan. n.d.,_Manhattan (accessed November 5, 2017).

After The Doctor

Trade card for G. W. Hull & Bro., Wauseon, Ohio. Circa 1870s – 1890s.

Price:  $15.00             Size:  About 4 and 1/2 x 3″

Happy Halloween!

I know this is not your standard Halloween offering, but it’s the closest we have at the moment, and quite unusual:  A grasshopper riding a rat across the desert (though you’d think the grasshopper could get there quicker on his own!) Time seems to be of the essence; note the alarmed look on the poor grasshopper’s face! The phrase “after the doctor” refers to someone going to get the doctor.

Report at Headquarters!

G. W. Hull and brother are on the 1870 Federal Census for Wauseon, Ohio. G. W. is head of household, born in Pennsylvania about 1844, married to Rebecca, born Ohio about 1843. With them live John Hull, born Ohio about 1846, who we presume to be the brother, and Calvin Nikirk born Ohio about 1855. G. W.’s occupation is listed as dry goods merchant, with John and Calvin listed as dry goods clerks. Calvin is likely related to Rebecca, as we find that G.W. is George W. Hull who married Rebecca Neikirk October 9, 1866 in Henry County, Ohio.

Below, from the front of the card, H & B, which we presume to be a logo, of sorts, for the dry goods store, rather than a lithography company name.

Brothers in the biz

Further searching reveals George and wife Abigail R. (Abigail Rebecca) in Wauseon in 1880, and their nine year old daughter, Verna. With them is George’s brother, Edwin. Thus, the “Bro.” was either John or Edwin Hull, or maybe conveniently worked out for both, if first John, then Edwin…..But wait, living next door, in 1880, is Henry Hull, dry goods merchant, so Henry is a third possibility as the brother in the dry goods business.

More findings

Abigail died in 1891 and by the 1900 census, G. W. had remarried. His second wife was Lottie (maiden name French per Ancestry family trees.) George, per Find A Grave, was born July 23, 1843, died December 23, 1915, and was buried in the Wauseon Cemetery.

Sources:  Wauseon, Ohio. n.d.,_Ohio (accessed October 30, 2017).

Dry goods. n.d. (accessed October 31, 2017).

Year: 1870; Census Place: Wauseon, Fulton, Ohio; Roll: M593_1202; Page: 57B; Family History Library Film: 552701. (

Jordan Dodd, Liahona Research. Ohio, Marriages, 1803-1900. (

Year: 1880; Census Place: Wauseon, Fulton, Ohio; Roll: 1017; Family History Film: 1255017; Page: 173D; Enumeration District: 024. (

Year: 1900; Census Place: Delta, Fulton, Ohio; Roll: 1270; Page: 10A; Enumeration District: 0015; FHL microfilm: 1241270. (

Abigail R. Hull. Find A Grave Memorial# 9598090.

George W. Hull. Find A Grave Memorial# 9598085.

Globe Soap Trade Card

Trade card. Globe Soap Company. Circa 1880s – 1890s. Gies & Co., Buffalo, NY.

Price:  $12.00          Size:  3 and 3/16 x 4 and 13/16″

Captain Jinks, etc.

This seems like a good trade card for autumn, of a boy with long hair, wearing a felt hat with a peacock feather and a scarf with stripes. The colors are wonderful, along with the boy’s expression, the clouds in the background almost seem to be moving…..all-in-all a beautifully-done card. The lithographers were Gies & Company, out of Buffalo, New York. And this particular design was evidently a popular one:  others can currently be seen for sale online showing several different companies or brands being advertised. In addition there’s one version (lithographer unknown) with the printing underneath, “Young Captain Jinks,” which was paying homage to the public’s love of a song or a play, or perhaps both.

“Captain Jinks of the Horse Marines” was a humorous number (you can find it on YouTube) written in the mid-1800s that is credited to T. Maclagan, or William Lingard, or sometimes both. It was later very much in the public eye as a comic play by Clyde Fitch, which debuted in January 1901, and starred Ethel Barrymore. And in 1975 the title was re-introduced as an opera written by Jack Beeson.

The Globe Soap Company

Back to our card…..According to a 1918 excerpt (below) from Moody’s Manual, the Globe Soap Co. was incorporated April 27, 1881 in Ohio. They included the brand names, Grandma’s Borax Powdered Soap, Export Borax Soap, Pearl Soap and others. The plant was located on 23 acres in Saint Bernard, Ohio.

A pretty long distance

Globe Soap was bought out by Procter & Gamble in 1928, along with some other soap manufacturers around this year, tallying Globe Soap’s run to around forty-seven years. Interestingly, articles in 1928 report the possible buy-out, and then that it was only a rumor.

Sources:  “Miss Barrymore’s New Play.” The Buffalo Enquirer (Buffalo, NY) December 21, 1900, Friday, p. 5. (

William Lingard. n.d. (accessed October 28, 2017).

Clyde Fitch. n.d. (accessed October 28, 2017).

Captain Jinks of the Horse Marines. n.d. (accessed October 28, 2017).

Moody’s Manual of Railroads and Corporation Securities. Vol. 3, Industrial Section, 1918. Moody Manual Company, New York. 642. ( book search).

“Rumor Procter Buys Globe Soap.”  The Daily Times (New Philadelphia, OH) May 23, 1928, Thursday, p. 5. (

Whitten, David O. and Bessie E., eds. Handbook of American Business History:  Extractives, manufacturing and services. Vol. 2. p. 226. Westport, Connecticut:  Greenwood Press, 1997. ( book search).

D. Joseph Adams Trade Card, Manhattan, NY

Trade card, Yorkville, Manhattan, New York. Circa 1884 – 1895.

Price:  $10.00            Size:  3 and 1/4 x 5 and 13/16″

Here’s a beauty, there’s something about seashells….Washed up on the shore, with some seashore-type plants surrounding it, is a large half-shell with the proprietor’s info stamped inside, and a ship and lighthouse scene happening in the distance.

“D. Joseph Adams, House Furnisher of Yorkville, Hardware, Ranges, etc. 1518 Third Ave., Bet. 85th and 86th Sts.”

Unless you know the neighborhood, or Manhattan in general, you might (like me) have thought that Yorkville was a furniture brand or a popular china pattern. But D. J. Adams was saying that he was furnishing homes in Yorkville, the Upper East Side, Manhattan, NY neighborhood.  And this would have been in 1884 – ’85, according to the only city directory, or record of any kind, found for Mr. Adams. His home was nearby at 1434 Lexington Avenue.

Source:  Trow City Directory Company’s The New York City Directory, 1884-85. p. 23. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995.

N. S. Davis Trade Card, Somerset, Mass.

Trade card, Somerset, Mass. Circa 1867 – 1876.

Price:  $10.00           Size:  About 2 x 3 and 1/4″

“N. S. Davis, Dealer in Fruit, Confectionery, Ice Cream Soda, Cigars &c. &c. Somerset – Mass.”

Another grocery-type trade card, this one with the owner’s stamp fitting neatly in the blank area on the card, just as it was designed to do. It shows two blond children with spyglasses. And the clarity of the image is not too good, but still, this would be an amazing find for someone searching for N. S. Davis in their ancestry or just nice for collectors of Somerset or confectionery trade cards, in general.

Dealer in a little of almost everything

We find N. S. Davis is Nathan S. Davis, from his 1870 ad below in the Somerset city directory, and he offered a wide variety of items. But is he also the Nathan S. Davis, sea captain, born 1828, that appears in directories and census records?

Two Nathan S. Davis’ in Somerset

Getting a little bleary-eyed looking up the many records under this name, but we see that there was the Nathan Simmons Davis (1828 – 1918) son of Nathan Davis and Clarissa (Bowen) Davis, who lived in Somerset, served as a U.S. Postmaster and was a sea-captain, and there was Pvt. Nathan S. Davis (1828 – 1887) from Somerset, son of Baylis and Nancy Davis, who served in the Civil War and was listed as a mariner at the time of his death. Which one was also the confectioner who gave out this trade card is the mystery. And wouldn’t you know it, the spyglass theme fits both of them perfectly (not to mention this was the Atlantic seaboard region, so nautical was common in general, one assumes.

Mystery solved

See the posted comment for details, but our store proprietor for this trade card has been confirmed as the Nathan S. Davis, son of Nathan Davis and Clarissa (Bowen) Davis.

Sources:  Dudley & Greenough‘s The Bristol County Directory and Gazetteer for 1867-68. p. 93. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995.

D. Dudley & Co.’s The Bristol County Directory and History for 1870. p. 39. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995.

Dean Dudley & Co.’s The Bristol County Directory and History for 1875-76. p. 130. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995.

Record of Appointment of Postmasters, 1832-1971. NARA Microfilm Publication, M841, 145 rolls. Records of the Post Office Department, Record Group Number 28. Washington, D.C.: National Archives. (

Nathan Simmons Davis. Find A Grave Memorial# 91007972. (

Pvt. Nathan S. Davis. Find A Grave Memorial# 91299742. (

Massachusetts Vital Records, 1840–1911. New England Historic Genealogical Society, Boston, Massachusetts. (

I. K. Messer, Grocer, Haverhill, Mass.

Trade card. Haverhill, Massachusetts. Circa 1876 – 1880.

Price:  $10.00                Size:  about 4 and 5/8 x 3″

“He removed his tricorn with a flourish and made her a low sweeping bow….”

Here’s a lovely trade card in pink tones, for  “I. K. Messer, Grocer, 82 Emerson St., Haverhill, Mass.”  I. K. Messer, grocer was Ira K. Messer. Below a short timeline and a city directory ad:

1873 – Address listed as Emerson near Winter, Haverhill

1876 and 1880 – 82 Emerson St., Haverhill

1882 – Address listed as 83 Emerson St., Haverhill

Below, an 1880 Haverhill city directory advertisement for Ira K. Messer:

Sources:  Greenough, Jones & Co.’s Massachusetts Cities Directory, 1873. p. 107. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995.

W. A. Greenough & Co.’s City of Haverhill Directory, 1876. p. 182. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995.

W. A. Greenough & Co.’s City of Haverhill Directory, 1880. p. 46 in the advertising department. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995.

Merrimack River Directory, Haverhill, 1882. p. 385. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995.