One of the most available, most misunderstood and certainly the most misidentified of all antiques are photographs. It would be difficult to find an antique dealer who has not at one time or another bought and sold 19th century photographs, yet, the average dealer would be hard pressed to correctly identify or date the different types of photographic images they routinely encounter. This exploded view of the anatomy of a photographic case shows the various levels of the image side of the case. All images courtesy Dr. Anthony J. I bought my first 19th century photograph in on a farm in Pennsylvania, out of a barn that housed ducks and doubled as an antique shop. I was fascinated by the idea that antique images were a small window into the past; I have collected photographs ever since. To fund this newly acquired habit I would scour our New York City neighborhood with my red wagon and collect discarded furniture, glassware, artwork, and textiles, which I sold on the weekends at the 26th Street Flea Market in Manhattan. I used the profits to subsidize my photograph collecting and purchased photographs each week from other dealers at the flea market who routinely saved images for me beneath their tables; I was the photograph boy.
How to Date Old Photos
Do you have a box of old family photos tucked away somewhere? Are they labeled? Do you know your ancestors pictured or where they fit on the family tree? If not, knowing a bit about the History of Photography may help you identify when the photo was taken and who the ancestor may be.
Each one of your family photographs tells a story, and each one of your family A tintype is a photograph created on a thin sheet of metal. Tintypes I have a family history dating back to the ‘s in England and France.
We all have old family photos. These may be loose or in albums or they may be in the form of postcards or even fragile black and grey glass negatives. So what about dating? Photography started in but at that time was really in the hands of a few scientists, professionals or wealthy amateurs. Not many family photographs exist from that era unless they are beautiful images on a polished silver plate that looks like a mirror. These are daguerreotypes as invented by Daguerre in France.
Expert tips on decoding your family portraits
Tintype photo of two Victorian women posing under an “arched column” – great photo prop. Some creasing and general wear. Image is good. Tintype photo of a baby with a hidden mother awkwardly posed to the side under a striped blanket. This is quirky, fun and odd.
Shop for-and learn about-Antique Tintype Photographs. Tintype is the Martha Topping Photo Album dating help Prt 3: Metal Photos/Tintypes? themuse2 years.
They are stamped “Neff’s Melainotype Pat 19 Feb 56” along one edge. Sizes range from one-sixth plate to full plate see appendix El. Many are found in gilt frames or in the leather or plastic thermomolded cases of the earlier ambro-types. Civil War Period: – Tintypes of this time are primarily on–sixth Plate and one-fourth plate and are often datable by the Potter’s Patent paper holders, adoned with patriotic stars and emblems, that were introduced during the period. After the paper holders are embossed rather than printed.
Uncased tintypes have been found with cancelled tax stamps adhered to the backs.
How to Date Old Ancestor Photographs with Early Photo Types
Most family historians have THAT box. The box always looks roughly the same. Not long after I took up genealogy in , I began inheriting boxes and bags like those, and they all had lots of photographs — old ones. The photographs from the latter half of the 20th century are easiest to identify. Most times, I know the subject; if not, the bell-bottoms or dark wall paneling scream
Although not exactly like pictures we encounter today, tintype photographs set the stage for photography in our era. Tintypes began in
Being able to determine the approximate date and time of photographs may confirm existing research or lead you to discover new ancestors in your family tree. Betty has selected a handful of beautiful photos submitted by our community members and has provided her insights below to help color in the story of their ancestors.
I would date this picture about because of the huge circumference of the hat. One thing to note, when fashions reach their most extreme they usually change dramatically to the exact opposite. In , triangular shaped hoops had replaced the bird-cage shaped hoop skirts of the Civil War Era. For little girls, long pantaloons were out of style, replaced by loose drawers which showed an inch or so under their skirts.
So, that is when I think this photo was taken. The key style clue here are her fancy pleated sleeve cuffs. In the mid s to early s, there was an emphasis on creatively designed cuffs that covered the mid-arm to the wrist. Her hair is surprisingly plain for such a fashionable outfit, leading me to guess that this photo was taken about , before plain, center-parted hair was replaced in the late s by hair that was fluffy on top with feathery bangs. This is a very interesting picture of six young guys all dressed alike.
They differ only in the quality of their tailoring or stylish appearance. Hats are low-crowned, soft felts, worn rakishly as if making a joke of being dressed up.
History of Photography: Identifying Old Family Photos
Identifying an old photo isn’t as hard as you would think it would be. There are a few easy ways to identify old photos given how fast the photographic processes changed during the late s and early s. Here’s quick guide on How to Date Old Photos for photos from the ‘s – For more recent photos, you’ll need to rely on clues from the photo itself:. Its popularity peaked in period from , and began to wane in the following years. The process involved polishing a sheet of silver-plated copper, treating it with fumes, and exposing it to a camera to fix the image to the metal — this resulted in an image that appears to be fixed on to a mirror.
It should be kept in an acid- and lignin-free envelope for storage. Dating the Image Created with a process patented in , tintypes remained popular into the.
The tintype was an early Victorian photographic process which enjoyed huge popularity in the United States of America after its introduction in the late s but it never achieved the same acceptance in Great Britain. Note the crazing of the collodion surface across the plate and the bubbling and rusting around the outside perimeter. In contrast, in the International Center of Photography in New York staged a dedicated exhibition entitled America and the Tintype which featured several hundred examples from both the Permanent Collection of the I.
Further more, the International Museum of Photography and Film at George Eastman House in Rochester, NY, currently includes a prominent display of tintypes in its history of photography gallery, directly adjacent to an American daguerreotype and also a calotype by D. Hill and Robert Adamson who formed the first Scottish photographic studio. Despite this, the tintype has social and photographic significance in Britain which deserves greater consideration and acknowledgement.
Ideally I would do a phone interview of about minutes in the next few weeks and ask questions about your practice — at a time that is convenient for you. If possible I would also like to include one of your images in the book as well. If you or any other British tintypists whom you know are interested, please contact me, Sheila Masson, at britishtintypes gmail.
Thank you! The Beach Photographer H. Unfortunately we have few first-hand accounts from these operators, possibly due to a lack of education on their part, and therefore most references to itinerant photographers are made by their monied critics. Hostility was also expressed by studio photographers whose businesses were threatened by these mobile interlopers.
Others photographers faced opposition enforced by local government, and London photographers in particular were felt to be a social scourge and so bylaws were introduced which attempted to remove such perceived blights from parks and heaths.
Developing skills for identifying vintage photos
Do you have questions about your vision health? Two young men stare out at me from a small old photograph. On the back, in my grandmother’s handwriting, is written “Grandpa King’s brothers. At least I’ve got some information to work with, but I’m eager to learn more: When was the picture taken? Which two of my great-grandfather’s brothers are these? Michael and Peter?
Civil War Period – Tintypes of this time are primarily one-sixth and one-fourth plate and are often datable by the Potter’s Patent paper holders, adorned.
Date antique photographs by the presence of a tax stamps. Learn more about tax stamps and when they were used to narrow the time frame of that photo. In your family history research, have you found old unidentified antique photographs in your collection? Are they daguerreotypes? Cartes des visites? But knowing who is in that photograph is another story.
You must take time to learn about antique photographs and their distinguishing characteristics before you can start dating antique photographs and figuring out who is in that photo. Tax stamps are unique to the later years of the Civil War time period. We will explore below how to use their presence to narrow down the date of a photograph to a narrow time period.
Have you found any with a stamp on them? If so, you can narrow down the date the photograph was taken to a narrow point in time. The amount of tax per photograph varied based on cost of the photograph. Understanding the history of the sun picture tax is a boon to the researcher trying to date antique photographs. The popular cartes des visites CDV were among those photographs required to have tax stamps during this time period.
Dating and Identifying Your Old Family Photographs
A tintype , also known as a melainotype or ferrotype , is a photograph made by creating a direct positive on a thin sheet of metal coated with a dark lacquer or enamel and used as the support for the photographic emulsion. Tintypes enjoyed their widest use during the s and s, but lesser use of the medium persisted into the early 20th century and it has been revived as a novelty and fine art form in the 21st.
Tintype portraits were at first usually made in a formal photographic studio, like daguerreotypes and other early types of photographs, but later they were most commonly made by photographers working in booths or the open air at fairs and carnivals , as well as by itinerant sidewalk photographers. Because the lacquered iron support there is no actual tin used was resilient and did not need drying, a tintype could be developed and fixed and handed to the customer only a few minutes after the picture had been taken.
cases were used for Daguerreotypes, Ambrotypes and tintypes. It is important to consider a photograph case when dating an image, though it.
Here are several sites that can help you put your aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents on the right branches of your family tree. Here are some places where you can pick up a few style cues to help you ID your own vintage family photographs! Wikipedia The collaborative encyclopedia Wikipedia provides a nicely detailed collection of articles about the many eras of clothing fashion. Here are direct links to the sections dedicated to the time since photography was possible: s s s s s s s s s s — — s.
Flickr collections by era These contributed photographs are grouped by decade, and the multitude of images will provide you with a helpful frame of reference to compare your vintage photos. Topics include evening attire, fashion accessories and even bathing costumes and undergarments. Vintage hairstyles A look at how women wore their hair in eras past, illustrated with photos of modern recreations. Also see some sketches of vintage hairstyles here.
If I needed more data points, other style cues I could research would be the fit of the dresses, the hairstyles, and their jewelry. By way of example, your relative might have been a trendsetter… or perhaps she cared little about fashion and was always a few years behind. Nancy Price. View All.
Genealogy research: Dating vintage photographs by clothing & hairstyles
Introduction : In this article, Mary Harrell-Sesniak shows how you can date old, undated family photos by first figuring out what type of photograph they are, and uses old newspapers and other sources to illustrate different types of photos. Mary is a genealogist, author and editor with a strong technology background. Do you have a box of old, undated family photos somewhere up in the attic—or maybe buried in the back of some closet?
date your old photographs. Below is a list of links to https://blog.ferrotype-tintype/.
Although not exactly like pictures we encounter today, tintype photographs set the stage for photography in our era. Tintypes began in when an Ohio chemistry professor Hamilton Smith patented the tintype image. Before tintypes existed, the two main types of photographic images, the daguerreotype and the ambrotype, were created by treating glass with light sensitive collodin. The process to create these images was expensive and difficult.
When tintypes became available commercially, photographers were easily swayed by the durability, inexpensiveness, and easier emulsion process of the tintype which led to the downfall of images on glass. Tintype images are taken on iron plates which are treated with an enamel to prevent rusting. Earlier tintypes are noted to be treated with a black enamel while later ones were treated with a brown enamel. When taking the image, no flash or click of a button was involved.
How to Date Antique Photographs Using Tax Stamps
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Fantastic hand colored antique tintype photo of a man and woman couple. This portrait is truly wonderful and would look fabulous in a frame. This dates circa.
Tintypes, Daguerreotypes and Ambrotypes c cycleback , all rights reserved. Tintype : Early image on a thin iron plate resembling tin. By far the most common of the three for sports subjects. Daguerreotype : Early mage on a silver-coated copper plate. The rarest and most valuable for sports subjects. Ambrotype : Early image on a transparent glass plate with a black backing. Rare for sports subjects. People are surpised to find out that many s photographs were not paper but glass and metal.
The standard metal and glass photographs are the Duaguerreotypes, ambrotypes and tintypes. These are popular with collectors and come in different sizes and presentations. Daguerreotypes and ambrotypes were originally housed in special cases discussed later in this chapter. The tintype can be found au natural, in cases, frames and paper envelopes with openings for viewing. These metal and glass photographs were the dominant form of photography until albumen prints.
The Daguerreotype was the first practical photograph and proved popular with the public.