Early Businesses of Summit Hill, Pennsylvania
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Updated December 15, 2006

Victorian Trade Cards

Trade cards were popular between the 1867-1900 time period of the Victorian era. Local merchants would hand them out for free as a cheap and effective way to advertise products and services. Local stores would sometimes stamp their name somewhere on the card, so finding any from Summit Hill is difficult as the advertisement is more collectible than where the card came from. In 1867, the Centennial Exhibition, held in Philadelphia, marked what amounted to be the beginning of trade card collecting. Lithography was introduced and the appearance of the beautifully colored cards started a collecting craze. Trade Cards collecting all but ended by the 1904 World's Fair. The cards were replaced by full-color magazine ads and people saw trade cards as too old fashioned to collect. Shown below are the cards I bought from a collector in Vermont. It seems Schneider's store had the 'market' on handing out these cards.

Schneider's was at the same location as Nick's.

I have no idea where John B. Jones operated his store.

In all my searching I have never found a Dr. Olwell in town. My true belief is that it was a typo and it is really Dr. William H. Clewell.

Dr. Davis ran his Switch-Back Pharmacy on the corner of Front and Market, across from the Eagle Hotel. He was in town for several years and also owned the Summit Inn. He was famous for some of his concoctions, including Switch Back Sarsparilla, Cough and Cure, and his Blood and Liver pills. The bottle and trade card are from the 1890s.


There were several bottlers in town. Some of their bottles are shown below.


Zerby's began bottling in the 1890s. I am not sure where he began, but in 1902 he built the Mansion House on Front Street in the west end of town. At the time of its construction, it was the finest building in the town.


In 1920, in the onset of prohibition, Guida Lisella bought the building. It was rumored that a speakeasy was established in the basement, under the dining area. According to Guido's granddaughter, Guida Lisella began his bottling in an old barn on the 100 block of East White Street as well as 'somewhere over in the country'. During the time of prohibition, Guida ran a furniture business out of what is now the barroom.

The bottle shown below, a post-prohibition Daufer's Beer, was an Allentown beer shipped in kegs to town and bottled on the Mansion House premesis.


P. J. O'Donnell was the longest bottler in town. Bottles I have seen range from the 1890s while some of the O'Donnell Brothers bottles were into the 1950s. The bottle below is from the O'Donnell's Brothers.

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