Item #010240 1902 – Two advertising items for the Detroit White Lead Works, a leader in paint manufacturing

1902 – Two advertising items for the Detroit White Lead Works, a leader in paint manufacturing

Detroit, Michigan: 1902. Unbound. One of the items in this lot is a one-cent advertising postal card (Scott #UX14) for the Detroit White Lead Works that bears a Detroit machine postmark dated March 10, 1902. The other is a personal letter written on colorful F. R. Kedzie stationery advertising Detroit White Lead Paint datelined “Pittsford, Mich. April 25 1902”. Both items are in nice shape.

The postcard is a salesmen arrival notice card that was sent to “Chambers Bros” in St. Ignace, Michigan. It announces that a Detroit Lead Works agent would call on March 13 or 14, 1902. It bears the company’s red seal logo and a list of its products that were sold in the Detroit-Chicago-Buffalo-Memphis” regions: Liquid Paints, Colored Leads, Carriage Black and Colors, Varnishes and Paint Specialties.

The letterhead features the company red seal logo along with a color illustration of a house painted with Detroit White Lead products. The letter offers birthday greetings to an aunt.

. Very good. Item #010240

The Detroit White Lead Works, one of the leaders in paint production, produced its product by mixing white lead (carbonate of lead), with oils and colors. It was founded sometime between 1863 and 1865 by Ford DeCamp Hinchman, a Detroit druggist, who served as the company president until 1880. At that time, it was sold to Ford R. Rogers who incorporated the business, which was located on Jones Street until that factory was destroyed by fire in 1896 and a new factory was built in the city’s “Milwaukee Junction.” Until that time, the company had only produced white paint, but afterward began to offer color paint in response to Detroit’s burgeoning automobile industry. It eventually also produced insecticides and soap. In 1910 it was acquired by Sherwin Williams but continued to operate under its own name. It reorganized as Permalac in 1933, and finally closed 1938.

The hazards of lead have been known since 200 B.C., yet they were mostly ignored because of the metal's easy availability, malleability, anti-corrosive properties, and even taste. (For years it was added to wine as a sweetener.) It was added to paint because it expedited drying, improved durability, and permitted cleaning with soap and water. In the early 20th century, Detroit, driven largely by auto industry demand, became the center of lead paint production in America. It also became the center of lead-based health concerns. Detroiters came into direct contact with lead in their factories; they lived in lead-painted homes, and the air they breathed was laden with lead dust. By the time, lead-based products were legally controlled in 1978, over 6% of Detroit’s children suffered some type of medical issue from lead exposure.

(For more information, see “F. D. Hinchman is Dead at 81” in the 27 March 1929 edition of the Detroit Free Press, “Detroit White Lead Works” at Wikimapia, “Detroit’s Milwaukee Junction Survey” by the National Park Service, and “Lead paint takes over Michigan” at the History Engine website.”


Price: $150.00