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Dating a full plate Tintype photo

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  #1  
Old 09-22-2008, 10:27 AM
SteveinPa SteveinPa is offline
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Dating a full plate Tintype photo

Hi, I have a tintype photo that I am trying to date. The photo measures 6 inches x 8 inches. The thickness of the metal is .013. This photo belonged to a relative (John Evans) who lived between 1864-1924. The gentleman in the photo does not look like John Evans, when compared to several other known photos. So, I assume the photo is of another family member.

I have read through several web sites on dating old tintype photos. I have a few questions and I'd like your opinion on the photo. Was there a time frame when a larger 6X8 tintype would have been made? The surface of the photo is very smooth over the subject in the photo, except where it is tinted. The background is quite rough and appears to be painted a solid gray / silver color. Does this help with dating the photo? Any ideas on dating the clothes that he is wearing or the scratched inscription on the back of the photo?

I am doing a family genealogy and it would a big help to be able to date this photo to before or after 1870. I would greatly appreciate help, link to a tintype photo historian and your opinions on my old tintype photo.

Thanks
Steve
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Tin Type photo front side.jpg (62.5 KB, 170 views)
File Type: jpg Tin Type photo back side.jpg (29.7 KB, 132 views)
File Type: jpg Tin Type Photo inscription crop.jpg (29.3 KB, 123 views)
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  #2  
Old 12-10-2008, 09:58 AM
SteveinPa SteveinPa is offline
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Re: Dating a full plate Tintype photo

Hi, I'm still looking for help dating this photo before or after 1870. Here's my reason for dating this photo. If it dates before 1870 or at least 1869, there is a possibility that this is a photo of my gg grandfather who was killed in the Avondale Mine Disaster 1869. 110 anthracite coal miners perished on Sept 6, 1869 at the Avondale Mine, Plymouth Twp north east Pennsylvania.

I'll like your opinion on whether this tintype looks like it is a "brown period" tintype.

Thanks
Steve
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  #3  
Old 02-15-2009, 05:46 PM
mattie mattie is offline
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Re: Dating a full plate Tintype photo

Steve - What it looks to me is that it is a tintype of an older image. At the bottom you can see the remnant of the gold border of an oval, and I am assuming that this is part of the original image and not a present border. It was not uncommon to have a photographer take a photograph of an existing image. The original was probably also a tintype as well as they were often placed in a CDV size cardstock with the oval opening and gold border. Then, some sort of backing was attached to hold the tintype in place. Even if made after 1869, it could still be your gg grandfather and this image was made to memorialize him.

Also, the word "Ives" on the back was likely the name of the artist who did the painting. In my opinion the reddish looking letters above it read "G.O. Ives" and someone, maybe the artist, rewrote "Ives" to be more legible.

Mattie
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Old 02-15-2009, 07:26 PM
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igot2pman igot2pman is offline
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Re: Dating a full plate Tintype photo

I dont know anything about this kind of stuff but in my attempt to read it, the 3rd image to me seems to say:

Boriss
1577

Dont know if that is true but hope it helps,
-Keven
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  #5  
Old 02-15-2009, 08:33 PM
mattie mattie is offline
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Re: Dating a full plate Tintype photo

Keven - I think you are right about there being numbers scratched into the surface. I sort of thought earlier that it was 7577, but that just might be a one instead of a 7 at the beginning. Or...it might be a 9. There is a little loop at the top, but scratching a curve into the surface was not an easy task. Either way it could be a date.

mattie
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Old 02-15-2009, 08:40 PM
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0lBaldy 0lBaldy is offline
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Re: Dating a full plate Tintype photo

We all are about 5 months late in answering this request.. hope Steve is not to upset with us and drops back in sometime.. sorry I missed this post earlier!

Maybe this could have helped some:

Dating_Period Costume_History_Pictures_TinTypes, ETC
Victorian and Edwardian Photographs - Roger Vaughan Personal Collection
Main website

Victorian and Edwardian Period Clothing, Photos, TinTypes, ETC

Costume_Detective
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File Type: jpg Tin_Type_photo_back_sid_RP.jpg (195.8 KB, 62 views)
File Type: jpg Tin_Type_Photo_inscriptio_R.jpg (164.7 KB, 49 views)
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Old 02-15-2009, 08:57 PM
igot2pman's Avatar
igot2pman igot2pman is offline
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Re: Dating a full plate Tintype photo

Quote:
Originally Posted by mattie View Post
I sort of thought earlier that it was 7577, but that just might be a one instead of a 7 at the beginning. Or...it might be a 9. There is a little loop at the top, but scratching a curve into the surface was not an easy task. Either way it could be a date.
I'd agree that it could also be a 7 or 9, But my thought is that if the last two numbers are 7's, The look very similar and near matches. Why would this person have a problem doing the fist 7 (assuming it is one). I also don’t see why the Person would have trouble making a round 9 as they made a near circle right above it.

My thought was 1 because it looks like the small thing at the top of a one. Like below, all forms of one. Maybe they were trying to make it fancy...but in the end confusing the reader.

-Keven
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  #8  
Old 02-18-2009, 04:08 PM
SteveinPa SteveinPa is offline
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Re: Dating a full plate Tintype photo

Thanks for the replies. You know, I never thought about it being a photo of an earlier photo. Ok. I'm looking at the photo. The light colored, oval boarder at the bottom does look like part of the photo. The boarder feels smooth and seems to be cut off, on a diagonal straight line, at the left lower side. The entire background of the photo is painted in and has a rough, sandy feel, to it. I'm wondering if the oval boarder continued all the way around the photo. But, is covered up by the painted background.

Onto the back of the photo. The smeared reddish letters above the name"ives" looks like Jones. I'm not familiar with any Jones in my family. So, I'll have to check into that. As I mentioned in my original post, the name of my great grandfather John J. Evans, is written in pencil across the top. Apparently, a lot of my family members had the habit of writing their names on photos that belonged to them.

The name or word that is scratched into the top right side of the back, sure look like "b?i r or n s. Below are the numbers " 9 or 7 5 77.

Is there any other info that I can provide to help identify the time period or ID of this tintype?

Thanks for your help, it's really appreciated.
Steve
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  #9  
Old 05-12-2009, 10:13 PM
ke5sua ke5sua is offline
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Re: Dating a full plate Tintype photo

Can you send me a larger file of the original? I see some things but can't be wholy certain without blowing it up and examining it closer.
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  #10  
Old 08-27-2009, 01:05 AM
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AFrazier AFrazier is offline
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Re: Dating a full plate Tintype photo

Maybe this will help.

Tintypes are a near relative of the Daguerrotype. The Daguerrotype was made with an emultion of silver halide over a silver or copper plate. Due to the expense of the original Daguerrotype, tintypes quickly took their place. It was virtually the same process, but on tin instead, which significantly reduced the cost of production, and consequently the retail price to the client.
However, both had brief life spans. They were ultimately replaced by the Callotype, which, for one, used a negative, and for two, didn't require the same chemical mixtures, the gases of which (in the Daguerrotype/tintype) had killed more than a few careless photographers.
By the late 1840s, the albumen page had taken the high seat, along with negatives and gold chloride toning.

While it is certainly reasonable to say that a tintype could have been produced at any given point in time (even today), just as a world of digital photography can certainly produce a film-negative image, the reality is that for a normal consumer, with the lower cost associated with the Callotype and other emerging processes, the danger involved in the tintype from the cyanide gas byproducts, and the sheer popularity of the albumen page by the 1850s, a tintype wasn't typically the sort of image one would have chosen to have produced.

Your tintype very likely predates 1870. In fact, it probably predates 1850. To have produced a tintype after 1870 would be like someone using an Instamatic or Brownie today. While any of them can certainly be used or produced, it's not reasonably plausible without a justifiable excuse.
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