Coca-Cola, Historic and Refreshing
The battle rages on to prove the historic value of the Coca-Cola mural on the former Tipton’s Grocery in Bernal. Bernalwood received evidence from the owners of the building on how they discovered the mural in 1991 as they removed asbestos siding that was put up between 1949 and 1956.
(image via Troy Holden)
We also have word from the official Coca Cola historians and archivist themselves:
“The girl in the image is referred to in “Coke Lore” as Silhouette Girl. She was used from 1939 until around 1950 when she fell out of use. She is significant in dating items as she was one of the few characters that was used during the time we transitioned our “Trademark Registered” statement from the tale of the C in “Coca” to being placed under the words “Coca-Cola.” This transition occurred between 1941 and 1942.
The first thing I noticed with the sign was the mark was under the words so it had to be later than 1942.
You will note that given the Sanborn Map layout, that sign would have been perfectly positioned with sight lines to qualify as location for a painted wall sign.
Given this evidence, Ted Ryan and the Coca-Cola archivists state:
If you had to pin me to a date, I would say that based on the placement of the word drink and the use of the Silhouette Girl, the original would be from 1946 or so.
Our effervescent archivists were kind enough to send over a bevy of pictures and documentation:
|1939 Silhouette Girl on a thermometer:||Menu sign:|
|1950 delivery truck (Argentina)|
And a very similar mural in South Carolina (also restored):
Since we think the Tipton’s acquired the grocery around 1948, they were the ones that must have put up the siding and covered the mural.
Last year the Coke archivists wrote a blog post on the history of their painted signs, discussing the guidelines they gave the bottlers. They also sent me the official book (once confidential!!) and an article on their wall painting standards. (PDFs, be sure to click through.) The article, by Professors Bill Bateman and Randy Schaeffer, is quite definitive.