E & S FREY, BALTIMORE Druggist’s Label Restoration by Chris Rowell

E & S FREY Baltimore druggist’s label as found - Chris Rowell


I finally had time to finish up the restoration of the E & S FREY Baltimore druggist’s label. This circa 1860 label is on a large aqua cylinder that I picked up last month at the Baltimore antique bottle club meeting. After getting the bottle home I felt the label had such nice graphics, that it warranted some Photoshop time to restore it to a complete state. It wasn’t an easy process. I likely spent about 25 hours working on this over the past month.

I thought I would try my best to explain the whole process. First was how to get a flat image of a curved label attached to the bottle. Removing the label was not an option due to its fragile nature and lacking a 3-dimensional scanner, I opted for a more time consuming process called a “slit scan”. Basically this involves mounting a camera on a tripod then taking many images of the bottle while slightly rotating it about 15 degrees in each image. After this I ended up with about 40 images of the label. Then I would proceed to crop out a small central vertical slice of each image about 50 pixels wide.

Next I pasted each of these vertical slices into a new image and proceeded to line them up, creating a flat 2-dimensional version of the label without any distortion from being wrapped around the curved surface of the bottle. After that it was just a matter of using the color and brightness/contrast filters to make all the sections color match.

Next was the hard part using various pixel-cloning tools to painstakingly rebuild all the missing sections of the label. I started with the border and worked my way inwards. The eagle’s wing, the missing section of the banner and the various missing letters were actually much easier then I thought. The harder part was creating a convincing background where large parts of it were missing without having too much pixel duplication that was noticeable. Lastly I extended the staining through the new border tying everything together.

Over all I am very happy with the way this came out. I’m going to print one of these in a large format and have it framed to hang on my wall.

Chris (Rowell)

E & S FREY Baltimore druggist’s label - Chris Rowell Progress 1

E & S FREY Baltimore druggist’s label - Chris Rowell Progress 2

E & S FREY Baltimore druggist’s label - Chris Rowell Progress 3

E & S FREY Baltimore druggist’s label - Chris Rowell Finished

About Ferdinand Meyer V

Ferdinand Meyer V is a native of Baltimore, Maryland and has a BFA in Fine Art and Graphic Design from the Kansas City Art Institute and School of Design. Ferdinand is the founding Principal of FMG Design, a nationally recognized design consultation firm. Ferdinand is a passionate collector of American historical glass specializing in bitters bottles, color runs and related classic figural bottles. He is married to Elizabeth Jane Meyer and lives in Houston, Texas with their daughter and three wonderful grandchildren. The Meyers are also very involved in Quarter Horses, antiques and early United States postage stamps. Ferdinand is the past 6-year President of the Federation of Historical Bottle Collectors and is one of the founding members of the FOHBC Virtual Museum.
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