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calr Nov 13, 2010 7:52 PM

aloC-ecoC (Coca-Cola backwards)
Here is a photo I have posted in the current challenge in the Biweekly Shootout forum and now am posting here to put the forensic detectives in this group to work.

First, an explanation. There was another building on the lot in the foreground. That building was constructed before the building you see in the photo. The Coca-Cola sign was painted on the back of it. Some time later, the building you see was constructed back to back, in contact with the original building. Over the years, the Coca-Cola sign "imprinted" on the newer building. When the original building was demolished, this is what was visible on the back wall of the newer building. I don't know if the imprint of the sign is still there or not since a new building has been built on the lot in the foreground.

After posting this photo, I noticed that there is something in the background behind the Coca-Cola sign. There are definitely faded white block letters there but none of my attempts to bring out that lettering have failed. Bynx said he thought it was "John Deere" but has since retracted his statement.

This is not a critical issue but more a case of curiousity!
If any of you can bring out the lettering or enough of it to be recognizable, have at it. If you are successful, please explain how you did it. Thanks.

Here is the photo:


Green Eyed Stranger Nov 13, 2010 10:23 PM

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Well, it looks like <something>man Auto Bo<something, presumably dy). I took your picture and flopped it. It looked like <something> / Utc B<something>. Which I took as Building (or Bld). Once I realized that the / could be an A, Auto Body seems to work. I tried some tonemapping with Luminance HDR hoping that the local contrast operators would bring out more of the letters, but I didn't have much luck. I don't know if that's the right track or not. Do you have any more history of the lot? Below is your picture flopped that I was working with. Thanks!

VTphotog Nov 15, 2010 12:01 PM

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After reversing the picture, I used the color replacement function in Photoimpact to select and change the Coca Cola sign to be more consistent with the background, hoping that by fading it out, I could see more of the other letters. This met with limited success (that one is posted in the Biweekly Shootout forum). Then tried the Tonal adjustment tool, set to increase highlights and (slightly), midtones, while darkening shadows. Not as good as I would like, but may be a starting place for another attempt. It definitely appears that 'auto' is one of the words, but that could be me forcing something that isn't really there.


Wizzard0003 Nov 15, 2010 1:38 PM


Found this:

And also found these:

Michigan Automobile Co. Kalamazoo, MI 1903-1908
Michigan buggy Co. Kalamazoo, MI 1908-1914


Don't know if I'm right or even close but it's fun searching... :p

Bynx Nov 15, 2010 3:46 PM

You are a bloody wizzard. Thats it. MICHIGAN AUTO BUGGY CO.

Wizzard0003 Nov 15, 2010 4:58 PM


Originally Posted by Bynx (Post 1166665)
You are a bloody wizzard. Thats it. MICHIGAN AUTO BUGGY CO.

Bada Bing-Bada Boom...! ;)

And for my next trick... :p

calr Nov 16, 2010 4:30 PM

I could have sworn I posted a reply to the Wizzard but is is not here! Sometimes, in my old age (65), I hit the back button when I am done typing instead of the post button.

Hey, Mr. Wizzard. Good work. How did you do it?

That name, Michigan Auto Buggy Co., is interesting since this photo was shot on the east side of Portland, OR! Must have been a dealer or distributor.

....Now...Let's see...Oh yeah...hit the POST button...

VTphotog Nov 16, 2010 6:17 PM

Now, to complete the solution, Cal has to check city records to see what was there at the time. Per the links Wizzard provided, the Michigan Buggy company became the Michigan Auto company in 1908. That transition period would be the time that both names may have been used. Find that info, and you have solved one of History's Mysteries. (can I say that? I think it's copyrighted)


Wizzard0003 Nov 16, 2010 8:09 PM

LOL @ Cal...!

I do that "Back Button" thing constantly...! :p

I just thought that if it was an old sign "Auto Buggy" was a term use in the
early days of automobiles and looked like it would fit... Since it looked like an
"M" at the begining I just Googled "Auto Buggy" and dug throught the results
untill something looked possible...

I think your (and Brian's) idea that it could have been an old dealer is plausible...
They may have just added "Auto" to the Buggy part so people from the area, and
at that period of the time, would not get confused as to what they sold and what
company they represented...

@ Brian...

Hey, that could be a new TV show...

"Photography's Unsolved Mysteries...!"

LOL...! :p

hkmp50 Nov 16, 2010 11:01 PM

Brilliant gentlemen, remind me to contact you the next time I can't find my, uhh my, whatever it was, well nevermind . well anyway now I can go back to sleep....aaaaaaaaaaaaaa oops zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

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