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Rescue Stained Antique Document?

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JImam's loves83 of 5247Large Graniteware Basin With Lid 100 Years Old (plus or minus a decade or two)Very Rare SHERMAN Sapphire Rhinestone and Opaque Signed Jade Bracelet & Necklace
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    Posted 3 years ago

    (813 items)

    Well, firstly, what you're looking at is my revealing an antique label covered up since the 1910s by another label. This was done over about 20 minutes with warm water and a razor blade (cold water wasn't cutting it).

    As you can see, the original label is extremely dark (covered in turpentine). So either:
    Can turpentine be removed without damaging ink and paper?
    Can I safely brighten the paper without damaging the ink?

    I looked into one method, using bleach-water to brighten the paper, then stopping it with vinegar-water. But I'm concerned about the fibres of the paper and the ink under an attack of liquid bleach.

    Ideas on brightening it safely? It's an historically important label from a tiny town. A 1916 druggist catalog claims 550 people. Research shows it to be from the Wolfinger & Gilligan Co., Druggists, in Hopkins Station, Michigan. Label is too dark to read everything.

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    1. Lamplover78 Lamplover78, 3 years ago
      Very neat!
    2. SpiritBear, 3 years ago
      It was a nervous removal. I hated to do it, but my curiosity lead me to seek that which was hidden.
    3. Lamplover78 Lamplover78, 3 years ago
      Yes. I would of been curious too
    4. SpiritBear, 3 years ago
      Using a 9-panel LED I was able to read the entirety of the label. For those interested, it reads:
      Spirit of Turpentine
      Dose - five to twenty drops on sugar. When employed as an liniment it should be used with care and followed by a soothing application.
      Wolfinger and Gilligan, Druggists.
      Hopkins, Michigan
    5. Trey Trey, 3 years ago
      Cool discovery :)
    6. SpiritBear, 3 years ago
      Thank you, Trey.
    7. Lamplover78 Lamplover78, 3 years ago
      Very interesting!
    8. SpiritBear, 3 years ago
      I'm trying dry baking soda to absorb the stains right now (with doubts it'll work, but I'd really hate to apply moisture to the label yet again. I'm letting it set for a few days. Otherwise, it may need moisture again-- and I'd really hate to wet it, AGAIN.)
    9. SpiritBear, 3 years ago
      Alright, my plan of action: Dry baking soda for three days. Doubtful effect, but from there I can use warm diluted Hydrogen Peroxide and baking soda (after sufficient testing on modern paper/ink, otherwise diluted ammonia or vinegar after their own testing). From there, rectified wine spirits (a strong grain alcohol) to whiten and then more baking soda. Dry, wipe off, and hope for best. LOL.
    10. lzenglish lzenglish, 3 years ago
      Before you perform comment 9, and hope for the best, let me ask you this: Have you scanned what you have now to your computer, and tried to work with it in photoshop? Have you also taken pictures of it with a good camera, set on macro close up, and tried various flash modes? I always do these steps, to gain all the info the naked eye cannot see. That way, if you destroy the label you have, you will be able to search for a like label copy on the web, to stick on the bottle if need be. I have never had any luck cleaning up a label in the condition yours is in, but wish you all the best.
    11. Trey Trey, 3 years ago
      Your Welcome :)
    12. SpiritBear, 3 years ago
      lzenglish, thank you for your concern. To address the suggestions:
      I was actually going to reproduce the label when I get good measurements and select a piece of specialty paper to represent the original as best as possible. The font is a normal serifed font, like Times New Roman. There are no other bottles/labels from this druggist online (from what I can see). You cannot read the label without using light behind it, for the staining covers the front.
      I have included an extra image better showing the label before bright lights. I have several photos that show the text as well as I can get under various lights and two cameras.
      Yes, the label has had dried turpentine and another label glued on it for 100 years. Improvements can, assuredly, be made; but the question we both have is, what will the treatments do to the integrity of ink and paper?
      We'll find out in a week or so.
    13. lzenglish lzenglish, 3 years ago
      You did a good job in splitting the atom (so to speak). Now i would take a macro photo of it with the light behind it, as you show in your new photo, before you try to bleach it out. Lastly, i would take your camera to the upcoming bottle show, and look for a like label to photo. If you can't find one, put the word out at the show you are seeking one. Keep at it, and again, Good Luck to You!!!!!!
    14. SpiritBear, 3 years ago
      If I hat atomic abilities, the label would be pristine. But I'm a kitchen-sink restorer (as in, at home, not pro).
      The label is a typical design. But every druggist would have had several drawers of varied labels.
      I take the pics for our club at the show. You can join us if you want to come visit. Should be a nice sunny day-- cold, a bit of snow, but sunny by then. :)
    15. lzenglish lzenglish, 3 years ago
      Thanks for the invite, but you could not pay me enough money to leave "Mostly Sunny" California, for your Deep Freeze Weather! Lol Have Fun at the Show.

    16. SpiritBear, 3 years ago
      It's not that bad. West Michigan is the warmest part of Michigan. :)

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