Tintypes

Tintypes were developed in the mid-1850s and continued into the early 20th Century as an inexpensive and popular form of photography using thin, dark colored metal plate. They became popular about 1860, just before the Civil War. Since the process did not use negatives, the images often are unique.


Tintypes range in size from “gems” (1 x 1-3/8 inches) to 6-1/2 x 8-1/2 inches and often are cut in irregular sizes or shapes. Early tintypes (pre-1865) usually were encased in cardboard mounts or paper sleeves. Later tintypes more typically were loose, with no frames. Pre-Civil War tintypes had little or no studio-type backgrounds for the pictured individuals. Post-Civil War tintypes often used elaborate sets as backgrounds.

The photos on this page are for display only and are not generally for sale; however, if you are interested in purchasing one of the photos, serious offers will be considered. Queries may be directed to Richard Hall.


Ad on back of a gem tintype in CDV mount from St. Louis, circa 1870s. "5 Gem Pictures for 25 cents, Taken and Finished in Fifteen Minutes."

Note: Because of the process used, tintype images sometimes appear dark and irregular, but they are very durable and retain sharp images. Some of the tintypes displayed here may have been lightened or enhanced by photo-imaging software to better show the image quality.

 


1. Seated man; 2. Seated woman; 3. Two boys, communion candles.

4. Curly-haired woman, earrings; 5. Woman in white dress; 6. Man standing by gate.

7. Three men; 8. Baby in gown; 9. Man on chair.

 
 

 

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