Tuesday, February 2, 2010


I got these old tintype photographs and my question ,are they always so disfigured looking? This lady was 1865--1938 The man was 1856--1920 they were the in-laws to the last lady's two daughters.

This lady died having her 7Th child in 1901 she was 39 years old 1862-1901
So when do you think these tintype's were taken? When did they stop taking tintypes?


Darla said...

I'm sure I don't know. All of the old photos make the people look so mean! Didn't they know how to say cheese back then? lol

Charlene said...


I have read that the reason that people look so stern in the earlier photos is that they had to be completely still for several minutes for the picture to be made. Old pictures are wonderful to have of your family. Isn't it sad that so many women used to die in child birth?

Yea....I got out today and went to the Dollar Store and to Subway. So wonderful to leave the house after six days being snowed in...

How are the roads in your area?

Have a great day.

Far Side of Fifty said...

Hi Patsy, Tin Types were a real art, almost seperate from photography. Lots of photographers thumbed their noses at tin typers. Tin typers could be at a beach or a festival and take lots of photographs since his business was portable, almost like an "instant camera"..he took the photo and processed it and gave it to the person..no waiting...where as other photographers were in studios. I believe I read where tin types were still used up until 1920. It is a interesting process and I would like to see it done in person some day.
Some tin typers were obviously better than others..as for when they were taken..I would guess Photo Number one ..she looks about30 -40 so 1895 to 1905. The man..he looks 50 to me..so 1906. And the lovely lady with the to die for hat..30 years old so that would be 1892. You will never know for certain..but it is probably in the ballpark.
Lovely Tin Types Patsy, Thank you for sharing them. I did feature some tin types on my Forgotten Old Photo Blog awhile back:)

A Brit in Tennessee said...

Well, I know from experience of having the new tin types taken, the photographer tells you not to smile, if you want to be authentic, since people didn't smile in the old days.
Yes, you are correct most of all the old ones, seem to be somewhat distorted looking, I think it adds to the ambience.
Love yours !

Marydon Ford said...

Here you go, sweetie ~ Marydon

Tintype photos, as the name implies, were photos with the image on a metal surface, rather than on glass or paper.

The tintype process or ferrotype process evolved from the ambrotype. It was invented by Prof. Hamilton Smith of Ohio in 1856.

Ambrotype images were collodion negatives on glass, viewed against a black surface. Tintypes were negatives on on iron, coated with black paint, lacquer or enamel.

Both processes relied on the fact that a collodion negative appeared as a positive image when viewed against a dark surface. A tintype was much cheaper to produce than an ambrotype, and was more durable.

Tintypes would be exposed while the sensitised collodion on the metal was still wet, and would be processed immediately after being exposed - so producing an early version of the 'instant photo'.

When mounted in cases, ambrotypes and tintypes can appear similar. However the two types can be distinguished by testing them with a strong magnet applied to the centre of the glass.

The tintype process was patented by the American, Hamilton L Smith.

The tintype process was a cheap process, used mainly by beach photographers and other itinerant photographers.

Tintypes were produced in the USA from 1856 and became popular from the 1860s. They remained popular into the 1900s and as late as the 1920s. Tintypes in the USA were usually of a decent size (not like in the UK) and big enough to see some good detail.

In UK the ambrotype (on glass) was much more common following the decline of the more expensive Daguerreotype.

Tintypes were introduced commercially (by Americans) into the UK in the early 1870s and started off being very small (about 15mm across - the Gem; and 35mm across - the Victoria). By the end of the decade they had become quite popular for the cheap end of the market and they were fitted into a card the same size as the ubiquitous Carte de Visite and therefore fitted nicely into family albums.

Larger tintypes in the UK were more likely to be produced by itinerant photographers (seaside etc.) because the tin was light and unbreakable and tintypes became more and more popular in the 1880s and 1890s and lasted until as late as the 1930s on some beaches. [Ron Cosens]

bennie and patsy said...

You are right Darla they looked unhappy.

Hi, Charlene our snow hads gone from the streets and melting fast in the yards.I got out today with The Bennie and did some shopping.

Thank you for info on the time these were made.
Far side of fifty and there age at the time.

Marydon you are a whiz,Thank you for all of the info you gave me.

An a Brit in Tennessee I know it would be hard to hold a smile that long. And they sure did look distorted but there face looked good.