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Dating a full plate Tintype photo

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  #11  
Old 09-19-2009, 08:31 PM
Craig Walters's Avatar
Craig Walters Craig Walters is offline
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Re: Dating a full plate Tintype photo

Quote:
History
The process was first described by Adolphe-Alexandre Martin in France in 1853, and patented in the United States on February 19, 1856 by Hamilton Smith, professor at Kenyon College, in Ohio. William Kloen also patented the process in the United Kingdom in the same year. It was first called melainotype, and then ferrotype (by a rival manufacturer of the iron plates used); finally came the name tintype. All three names describe both the process and the resulting photograph.[1]

[edit] Ambrotype
The ambrotype was the first wet-plate collodion process, invented by Frederick Scott Archer in 1851 and introduced in the United States by James Ambrose Cutting in 1854.

[edit] Success of the tintype
While the ambrotype remained very popular in the rest of the world, the tintype process had superseded the ambrotype in the United States by the end of the Civil War. It became the most common photographic process until the introduction of modern, gelatin-based processes and the invention of the reloadable amateur camera by the Kodak company. Ferrotypes had waned in popularity by the end of the 19th century, although a few makers were still around as late as the 1950s and the images are still made as novelties at some European carnivals.
that's from wikipedia.

and this is from another site on the history of photography, http://www.rleggat.com/photohistory/history/tintype.htm :

Quote:
First, see Ambrotype. The tintype, also known as a ferrotype, is a variation on this, but produced on metallic sheet (not, actually, tin) instead of glass. The plate was coated with collodion and sensitized just before use, as in the wet plate process. It was introduced by Adolphe Alexandre Martin in 1853**, and became instantly popular, particularly in the United States, though it was also widely used by street photographers in Great Britain.

intypes were eventually superseded by gelatin emulsion dry plates in the 1880s, though street photographers in various parts of the world continued with this process until the 1950s; the writer well remembers being photographed by one of these street photographers in Argentina, when he was a boy. Eventually, of course, 35mm and Polaroid photography were to replace these entirely.
so, if what you have is a tintype/ferrotype, then it dates to rougly 1853 to roughly 1880/90 or so... usually, with the exception of the novelty tintype, which lasts to this day. i have tintypes at home. mine date to around 1880, give or take a year or so. mine are clearer than yours. yours also seem to have had an additive paint for colorizing. this could have been done much later than the shot itself or shortly after the shot. so, the paint doesnt help much. i would also suggest that those numbers ending in 77 might well be a date, whether it's 1/9/77, 7/9/77, or something else, this would date your photo to 1877. but, as suggested by mattie, above, this could be a tintype of a tintype, or even a tintype of a deguerotype, which makes for an interesting twist and that could mean the 'date' as i'm calling it, could be when the duplicate was made, if it even is a date yeah, it can get confusing.

my next question would be, what type of metal is it on?

and my next question would be, what was your gg grandfather's name? it was very common to name a son after a father, so if your grandfather was john evans, it's also possible that your gg grandfather was john evans.

my best guess on this, without actually holding the tintype is, 1865 to 1875 or maybe as late at 1877 if that date is right. it could still be 1880 or later, but my gut feeling is not, unless it is a tintype of tintype, in which case the original was as i've dated here and the duplicate, whenever.

one thing you can also look at closely is, the veneer/varnish/emulsion of the image. look at this very closely under the best magnifier you can get your hands on. generally, the more cracking and darkening, the older it is. this might be the clue to determining if it was a tintype or a tintype of a tintype. the latter wouldnt be as severely crackled, though that can be a very relative and iffy thing depending on how the image was handled over the years.

also, i shld warn you, wear white, dust-free gloves when handling these images. the oils in your hands can hurt the surface.

and, if you're truly demanding of finding a more exact date on this, find a good conservatore and have them date it for you. you can also research clothing from the period on places like google images. here's a site on men's clothing that might help get you started: http://www.gentlemansemporium.com/18...to-gallery.php
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  #12  
Old 10-02-2009, 11:17 AM
SteveinPa SteveinPa is offline
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Re: Dating a full plate Tintype photo

Craig,

The photo is made out of a ferrous metal. The photo sure seems to be a tin type of an earlier tin type. There are two distinctly different surface textures on the photo. The subject's head, coat and hands have a very smooth and shiny appearance. They seem to have been colorized on the original photo. In contrast, the colorization on the subject's shirt, tie and the entire background are dull and have a rough texture. This texture difference is very apparent, when you look at the photo on an angle. It is colorization paint on top of a smooth finish. Also, the bottom oval boarder is smooth and looks like it was a part of the original. The finish on the lower right corner is cracked and some parts have deteriorated.

As far as, the subject. My g grandfather was John J. Evans (1863-1924). He wrote his name in pencil, across the top of the photo. Apparently, there were some issues of possession in his lifetime, because he wrote his name somewhere on every photo that he owned, no matter who was the subject. We have other photos of John J for comparrison and it is not him in the photo. His father John D. Evans (1836-1869), came to America from Wales, June 1865 and died in the Avondale, Pa. Mine Disaster, Sept. 6, 1869. He was 33 years old when he died. As I mentioned, if this indeed is a photo of John D Evans, then it is the only known photo of any of the 110 disaster victims. I belong to several local historical societies and this year, marked the 140th anniversary of the disaster. We placed a bronze plaque at the grave site of 61 Avondale victims, who are buried in Scranton, Pa. The event was covered by the local newspapers and tv station. I'm also involved in preserving the original Avondale Mine site, which is in rough shape.

I've attached a couple new scanned copies of the photo, which may show some better details. Also, I can email larger files of the photo, to anyone interested in helping date the tin type.

Thanks again
I appreciate all the help and comments on dating this tin type and the subject in the photo, before or after September 1869.

Steve
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Tin type front.jpg (89.3 KB, 36 views)
File Type: jpg Tin type back.jpg (76.4 KB, 28 views)
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  #13  
Old 10-02-2009, 12:19 PM
SteveinPa SteveinPa is offline
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Re: Dating a full plate Tintype photo

Here's a pic of the tin type, taken on an angle with a digital cam. I do know that without personally seeing the tin type, it is still hard to see the difference in colorization textures, even this cropped section. But, this pic shows it better than a flat scanned image.

Thanks

Steve
Attached Images
File Type: jpg tin type surface texture.jpg (91.4 KB, 37 views)
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  #14  
Old 10-02-2009, 08:36 PM
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Re: Dating a full plate Tintype photo

Steve,
It's not likely that it would be a tin-type of an earlier tin-type. There are two likely scenarios. (1) The original tin-types' coating could have been done in two separate applications, thus yielding the smoother finish in one area. It was common for tin-types to be hand colored. The problem with hand coloring was that often the coating available to one photographer was not always compatible with his coloring. So, he may have coated the surrounding area with something different. [In fact, coatings were a work in progress. Sometimes, the coating was experimental.] (2) The tin-type was damaged at some point in time. Another photographer either removed part of the coating to recolor it, or recoated the surrounding area to repair it.

Either way, you may be seeing differences in texture due to variations in the coating. All of the above may or may not make it more difficult to date. It is probably safe to assume that the tin-type has not been altered from its original form, under all the coatings. So, focus on the size, metal content, clothing, and other particulars supporting the date. It is often only possible to get +/- 10 years on these, as photographic techniques varied widely in different parts of the country; technology took a while to spread. By the time some rural photographers perfected the tin-types, large city photographers had moved on to newer technologies and coatings.
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  #15  
Old 10-03-2009, 01:44 PM
SteveinPa SteveinPa is offline
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Re: Dating a full plate Tintype photo

Interesting. But, just to clarify what I mean by two distinct surface textures.The colorization on the subject's face, vest, jacket, hands as well as, the oval boarder around the bottom, look to literally be a part of the photo. Their surface is completely smooth, with no visible edge lines. Just like a color photograph. In contrast, the colorization on the subject's shirt and the entire background is dull and rough and is painted on top of the image.

As far as, the metal. The photo is 6 x 8 inches, .013 thick and is ferrous. I'm not sure what that tells me...
Since, the background is completely painted in, there are no features of furniture, etc. to help date it. The male subject's clothing and hair style are typical mid-late 1800's. I know it would be so much easier to date this photo, if the subject was a female (hairstyles, etc.) and there was a background.

Steve
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  #16  
Old 03-26-2011, 08:56 PM
Photolovr Photolovr is offline
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Re: Dating a full plate Tintype photo

We have a pair of Full Plate tintypes in our family and have dated them between 1856-1860. My GG Grandfather was born in 1819 and my GG Grandmother was born in 1824 so we think she is in her late 30's and he in his early 40's. She died in 1860-62.

Hope this helps.
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  #17  
Old 03-26-2011, 09:07 PM
Photolovr Photolovr is offline
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Re: Dating a full plate Tintype photo

Attached are the Full Plate tintypes mentioned in the previous post.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg LCC Adkins 5b.jpg (63.7 KB, 14 views)
File Type: jpg Jincy Alexander Adkins ca 1860.jpg (88.2 KB, 11 views)
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  #18  
Old 03-27-2011, 01:46 PM
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Re: Dating a full plate Tintype photo

I'm working on my own family history project and to be honest, I never knew there were colored tintypes! Maybe my Irish were too cheap...
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