The world renowned Underwriter Laboratories (UL) of product safety testing and standards fame, contracted Randal Birkey to create an illustration out of an old historical print depicting a scene from the Chicago Fire. It was to be reproduced in a company publication having to do with fire safety.

In this unusual project, Randal Birkey was provided a faded copy of a historic illustration that was unusable for reproduction. He was asked to enhance it and turn it into a new and reproducible illustration. The image depicts a fire fighting team at the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago.

Randal scanned a copy of the original damaged print, then used Fractal Painter software on a Macintosh computer with a Wacom tablet, to “retouch” adding color, texture and contrast to the image.

Underwriter Laboratories Chicago Fire Scene