A "Limited Express": "Five Seconds for Refreshments!"

Thomas B. Worth American
Publisher Currier & Ives American

Not on view

In this humorous railroad station scene, a train (left) is stopped beside the platform -- the rail cars recede diagonally into the background where dark smoke billows from the engine. Women passengers appear at each train car window to watch two lines of male passengers exiting the train hurriedly. At the lower left, as a man in a black suit rushes toward the depot doorway, his bowler hat flies off. He trails behind two men (lower center) who have fallen face down in their haste. As others run, trip, and fall across the platform, other men shove their way through a huddle of men squeezing through the depot doorway (right). Above the doorway, a sign reads "LUNCH ON THE AMERICAN PLAN." This image spoofs travelers on long train journeys, who, not knowing how much time they have at a station stop, tend to stampede in order to purchase food and drink before reboarding the train. Title and caption are imprinted in the bottom margin.

Nathaniel Currier, whose successful New York-based lithography firm began in 1835, produced thousands of prints in various sizes that together create a vivid panorama of mid-to-late nineteenth century American life and its history. People eagerly acquired such lithographs featuring picturesque scenery, rural and city views, ships, railroads, portraits, hunting and fishing scenes, domestic life and numerous other subjects, including political cartoons, as an inexpensive way to decorate their homes or business establishments. As the firm expanded, Nathaniel included his younger brother Charles in the business. In 1857, James Merritt Ives (the firm's accountant since 1852 and Charles's brother-in-law) was made a business partner; subsequently renamed Currier & Ives, the firm continued until 1907. Thomas Worth, among America’s prolific nineteenth-century illustrators, excelled at drawing horses, as well as other types of subjects, many of which were made into lithographs published by Currier & Ives.

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