Steamboats in Advertisements, page 2

lithograh ad steamboat illustration

This is the graphic portion of an 1890's color lithograph "No. 536" from Donaldson in Cincinnati. The red letters above and below (cropped out here) promoted the Stony Creek steamboat recreation pier at New Altona Beach. An "Ideal Picnic Resort." Apparently this was in New York state someplace where I'm sure the boats did not resemble our favorites but the graphic is pretty nice. The generic boat has no name though it resembles the CINCINATTI. The artist eliminated the swinging stage on the port side, probably to keep it from being cropped by the oval vignette. The image area is about 27 inches square.


Attached is a scan of a detail of a steamboat from a magazine ad that I bought on eBay taken from an undated magazine, probably four or five decades old. See below for full ad.

At first I thought Rice-Stix was some kind of snack food but turned out the company was a big St. Louis dry goods wholesaler.

I like this style of "idealized" illustration, much like an Iowa muralist who specialized in steamboats . . . don't recollect his name but Ed Garbert and I based our Hannibal, MO 1848 panorama on his post office mural style.

The following company history is quoted from: (offline?)

"Rice-Stix Inc. was a dry goods wholesaler that started in a small building on North Broadway and grew into one of the largest manufacturers and distributors in the country. Jonathan Rice, William Stix, and Benjamin Eiseman opened a small retail store in Memphis, Tennessee, in 1861. Other members of the families—Jonathan Rice, David Eiseman, and Elias Michael, a Stix son-in-law—joined the firm.

The yellow fever epidemic of 1878 spurred the company to move upriver to St. Louis the following year, where the store opened in a small building at 410 North Broadway and soon expanded along that thoroughfare. In 1889 the company moved to a newly completed structure, later known as the Merchandise Mart, and by 1907 Rice-Stix occupied the entire building on the block of 10th, 11th, St. Charles, and Washington.

In 1913 an annex was added a block south and in 1920 additional space was constructed. Rice-Stix had the largest space of any downtown St. Louis firm, plus warehouses and factories in outlying areas. By midcentury Rice-Stix offered some forty products and was one of the largest manufacturers of wearing apparel in the country, with imports from Ireland, China, Japan, and Europe. The firm included eighteen factories in the Midwest and six branches of traveling salesmen. In 1955 the families sold the company, and in 1957 it was moved to New York."


Cadillac 1937 detail Ad with steamboat 90 percent EXP

Might be one of the "Anchor Line" boats out yonder on the river with the anchor device twixt the stacks. Detail for a 1937 print ad for the Cadillac series "60" with 135 horsepower and all the V-8 "smoothness, acceleration and dependability" for only $1,445 (prices subject to change without notice). Lan' o' Goshen even pennies, nickels, dimes & quarters had real purchase power in them days.


An ad for Mark Twain Showboats (cigars).


The PIASA at LaClede's landing, Eads Bridge in the background.

Upper left vignette of illustration from the Kelly Tire ad based on the photo of the PIASA.

Lower left a frame from 4 FOR TEXAS (1963) in which the Warner Bros. art department painting of the PIASA is seen in an oval vignette on the doors of the safe behind Grady Sutton as the nervous clerk. The fictional Zachariah Thomas was played by Frank Sinatra.

steamboat realty

Hannibal, Missouri, from the Hannibal Courier Post, published in the 1980s.


Pin up girl on a cotton bale with Ford's SUWANEE steamboat in the background

1943 LIFE magazine advertising art by illustrator James Montgomery Flagg for Spring Maid brand Springs Cotton Mills of South Carolina, which used 4,000 cotton bales a month during World War 2 to produce 5 million yards of fabric, 80% of which went to the war effort. It looks like Flagg referred to a photo of the little steamboat SUWANEE at Henry Ford's Greenfield Village in Dearborn, Michigan to paint the steamer in the background.

steamboat label

Steamboat label from the days of Sacramento produce crates.


With the exception of images credited to public institutions,
everything on this page is from a private collection.
Please contact for permission for commercial use.*

All captions provided by Dave Thomson, primary contributor and historian.