Thursday, November 9, 2017

Historical Series: (#2) Antique Tintype in Union Case- Circa 1865-1870's


This was one of my favorite finds recently. An antique tintype photograph dated around 1865-1870's.

Some facts: A tintype, is a photograph made by creating a direct positive on a thin sheet of metal coated with a dark lacquer or enamel. There is no actual "tin" in a tintype photograph. It's a blackened iron sheet. They can be identified using a magnet. (My husband and I tried this, it works! The magnet will stick to the glass due to the metal in the photograph. Pretty neat!) 




Unfortunately we will never her know her name or where she lived, as there's no identifying information on the photograph. She looks quite young to me, possibly 15-20 years old. I'm guessing she is young, because of the giant ribbon in the back of her hair.

My guess for the year is sometime around late 1860's to mid 1870's because of the dress style she is wearing. It appears to be a two piece button dress, but it doesn't seem to have a bustle in the back. The skirt/sleeves seem too narrow to be from the early 1860's civil war era. My guess is somewhere around mid 1870's. (This style dress seems similar). Her dress could be mourning style.

I'm curious about the pin she is wearing. It appears to be a ribbon with a dangling chain. It could be something known as a cockade, which was wore worn around that period. If anyone has experience on 19th century fashion, please feel free to comment below! I would appreciate it!




You can see below how the photograph is chipping off of the metal plate underneath due to age. There is no actual "tin" in a tintype photograph. It's actually a blackened iron sheet underneath.


The case is called a 'union case'. It's made out of thermoplastic, an early plastic. Thermoplastic is quite fragile. The hinges and part of the frame are broken on mine, but the design is still pretty. Early tintype photographs were housed in these union cases, while later they were housed in paper sleeves. It's entirely possible the case isn't original to the photograph, but we'll never know.



I'm on the hunt to add an an early daguerreotype and ambrotype to my collection next.

Historical Series:
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