Dating ambrotype photos
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Last week I began a series of posts showing you how to date your old family photographs using format and processby looking at daguerreotypesthe very first commercial photographic process.
I found this article on the Internet and thought that some of you who appreciate and maybe even have a few old photographs laying around in cardboard boxes or in desk drawers might like to read some tips on ways to try to put a date on when they might have been taken.
The maps of the surveys showed where everything was; the wet- plate photographers showed precisely what was there. Mountain View, CA The case resembled a photo frame. Very decorative. The photo image is on a silver clad copper sheet which is attached to ambrotype sheet of glass by a foil- dating brass decorative frame.
This sealed packet was then force fit into a special wood case and was often padded with velvet or silk. Many times, the silver image tarnishes with silver sulfide in the same way as silverware.
The first photographs on paper. A two step process. The first step was to make a negative image on a light sensitive paper.
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Step two was to make a contact [print] with a second dating of sensitized paper to make a positive print. Calotypes were never widely popular, and most of those surviving are in museums. Apparently Talbot the inventor did not fully realize the importance of washing his prints long enough to remove all the residual chemicals, or perhaps his fixing was inadequate. Either photo le to the same result: fading image, discoloration, etc. These defects are now noticeable in many calotypes, some of ambrotype are today little more than pale yellow ghosts.
Similar to daguerreotype in assembly of parts: 1- Outer protective case. It was common for the ambrotype to be colored. Suggestions of rouge cheeks or lips suggested a person of substance. Buttons, watch chains, pendants, broaches were often tinted with color. Disadvantages of ambrotypes: 1. A very slow up to 20 sec. The glass was very fragile.
It couldn't withstand travel or being carried in a photo as a daguerreotype could. Advantage of the Ambrotypes: Price. It could be sold profitably at a low price, approx. The cost of the ambrotype was less than half of the daguerreotype. II "The penny picture that elected a president". Price- sold for a penny or less, making photography universally available. The cost of an image at the time the process became obsolete was about 25 cents. Advantages: 1. Lighter and less costly to manufacture. Camera was lighter and easier to handle. Wouldn't shatter ambrotype a glass image photo would.
Could be colored or tinted. As the public sought lower prices, the cases which cost more than the finished photographs were eliminated. In their place, paper folders of the size of the then popular card photographs were used for protection. Instead of a glass cover, the photographer covered the tintype with a quick varnish to protect any tints or colors added to cheeks, lips, jewelry or buttons.
Popularity: The tintype was very popular during ambrotype Civil War because every soldier wanted to send a dating of himself photo his dating and sword home. They could be mailed home safely without fear of shattering. The tintype actually does not contain any tin, but is made of thin black iron. It is sometimes confused with ambrotypes and daguerreotypes, but is easily distinguishable from them by the fact that a tintype attracts a small magnet.
The earliest tintypes were on heavy metal 0. They are stamped "Neff's Melainotype Pat 19 Feb 56" along one edge. Many are found in photo frames or in the leather or plastic thermomolded cases of the earliest ambrotypes. Size range from one- sixth plate to full plate. Civil War Period - Tintypes of this time are primarily one- sixth and one- dating plate and are often datable by the Potter's Patent paper ambrotype, adorned with patriotic stars and emblems, that were introduced during the period. After the paper holders were embossed rather than printed.
Uncased tintypes have been found with canceled tax stamps adhered to the backs. Brown Period - In the Phoenix Plate Co. They created a sensation among the photographers throughout the country, and the pictures made on the chocolate- tinted surface soon became the rage.
How to spot a collodion positive, also known as an ambrotype (early s–s)
During this period "rustic" photography also made its debut with its painted backgrounds, fake stones, wood fences and rural props. Neither the chocolate tint nor the rustic look are to be found in pre tintypes. Gem Period - They were popularized under the trade name Gem and ambrotype Gem Galleries offered the photo likeness at what proved to be the lowest prices in studio history.
Gem Galleries flourished until aboutat which dating the invention of roll film and family cameras made possible larger images at modest cost. It was no longer necessary to visit a studio that specialized in the tiny likeness.
Gem portraits were commonly stored in special albums with provision for a single portrait per. Slightly larger versions also existed. Some Gems were cut to fit lockets, cufflinks, tie pins, rings and even garter clasps. Carnival Period - Itinerant photographers frequently brought the tintype to public gatherings, such as fairs and carnivals.
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They came equipped with painted backdrops of Niagara Falls, a photo, a boat, and other novelty props for comic portraits. In the nineteenth century it was common to request a photographer to make a deathbed portrait ambrotype a loved one. A card stock product, nearly four times the size of photographs on card stock. The larger size created new problems of photographic quality.
Flaws that were not obvious in the smaller cards now became very visible. This gave rise to a new skill of photo retoucher. Success in retouching led to innovations in the darkroom and at the camera. Diffusion of the image reduced the need for retouching. This led to verbal skirmishes between photographers who insisted in "truth in photography".
Opponents called retouching degenerating, demoralizing, and untruthful practices. Cabinet cards can be further dated by color of dating, borders, corners and size.
De and colors of these cards followed those of the cards of that time. Cabinet cards are rarely found after Card Colors: - White card stock of a light weight. Borders: - Red or gold rules, single and double lines. Corners: - Square, lightweight mount.
Photographs mounted on photo stock. Ambrotype were applied from 1 Aug. Blue playing card stamps are known to have been used in the summer of as other stamps were unavailable as the levy came to an end. The stamp was to be canceled by requiring that the dating cancel the stamp by initializing and dating it in ink. The most rare of all of these stamps is the one cent red "playing cards" and the most common is the orange two cent "playing cards".