Here is another illustration by the talented painter Edward Trumbull from an advertisement for the Standard Sanitary Mfg. Co. of Pittsburgh. Trumbull’s thought seems to have been that he didn’t need to render the bathroom itself appealing to sell plumbing fixtures; in fact, the bathroom is seen only through a curtained doorway. Instead, his pictures suggest that the plumbing fixtures are an essential part of a life that is much more colorful and exciting than the life you live, and perhaps your life could be just as delightful if you only had “Standard” plumbing fixtures.
“A series of unusually artistic mural paintings by Trumbull always interests visitors to ‘The Home of the 57,’ ” says a 1924 Heinz advertisement in The Delineator. For many years the Heinz factory tour was one of Pittsburgh’s chief attractions, and Edward Trumbull’s murals in the headquarters building were much admired. The tour is no longer offered, but this advertisement reproduces one of Trumbull’s famous murals: “Scene at Capetown, South Africa. A symbol of Heinz world-wide distribution.”
Edward Trumbull is remembered primarily for his murals today. He did a number of famous ones for Pittsburgh; his work can still be seen on the ceiling of the Supreme Court Room in the City-County Building. (His most famous work in Pittsburgh, the ceiling of the Grant Building lobby, was either covered or destroyed—we hope the former—in the ill-conceived 1980s redesign of that lobby.)
Trumbull lived in Pittsburgh for a couple of years and continued to work for many prominent Pittsburghers for years afterward. Here we have an illustration he made for a 1924 advertisement for “Standard” plumbing fixtures. The Standard Sanitary Mfg. Co. of Pittsburgh had a lot to do with the shape of the modern bathroom. It later merged with American Radiator to form American-Standard, which still dominates the toilet trade today.
If you had bought a newspaper in Pittsburgh in about 1850, you probably would have bought it from a child like these. David Gilmour Blythe, Pittsburgh’s master caricaturist, produced a small masterpiece of a character study here. It hangs on a whole wall of David Gilmour Blythe paintings in the Carnegie Museum of Art; the curators date it to some time from 1846 to 1852.
Because we cannot get to the museum right now, old Pa Pitt is bringing the museum to you. Here are two by Pittsburgh’s great satirical painter David Gilmour Blythe. Above, Good Times (c. 1854-1858). Below, Temperance Pledge (c. 1856-1860). They make a good pair. Both are in the Carnegie Museum of Art.