Family Stories

Early Tintypes 1865-1875

Early Tintypes 1865-1875

Yesterday was a glorious but busy day!  It started at the Kentucky History Center in  Frankfort, researching for several blogs I plan in the next several weeks.  Then it was on to Candleberry Tea Room for a lovely luncheon – olive nut spread on wheat, herbed tomato soup, a tea time biscuit (ham and melted Swiss) and a cherry coconut congealed salad, served in a tea cup with a dollop of whipped cream!  And, of course, my favorite Earl Grey!  This was enjoyed with my dear sister, Donna.  Then on to a bit of shopping since our baby sister (she would love that!) has a birthday today!  Happy Birthday, Laura Lair!  She is nineteen years younger, so she will always be my baby sister!  By the time we arrived in Harrodsburg we wrapped presents and left quickly to met Laura in Danville for a birthday supper (along with nephew Noah)!  Everyone came back to my house, and my daughter Kate and hubby Todd arrived shortly.  The laughter and fun was never-ending.  Laura and Donna are planning a baby shower for Kate and Todd.  My grandson, Julian Alexander, will arrive about January 11, 2015.  I can’t wait to hold him in my arms!

All of this introduction is to let you know why the blog is late this morning!  Too much fun to be had yesterday with no time left for blogging!  The living do take precedence over the dead!

However I have three tintypes purchased at an antique shop in Paris, Kentucky, that I want to share with you.  Tintypes were popular during the 1860’s and 1870’s, and enjoyed a resurgence during the turn of the century.  I believe we can date these to 1865-1875 due to dress and hairstyles.

The process to produce a tintype photo was very similar to the ambrotype, the preceding photos that produced a direct positive on a piece of glass.  Tintypes used a thin sheet of iron, coated with dark lacquer or enamel.  I have several ambrotypes of my gr-gr-gr-grandparents and other relatives.

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This first tintype I would date to the middle to late 1860’s.  The women still wear the full skirts of this time period, although with a lower and more defined waist than the earlier 1860’s.  Notice the bit of color on the scarf, and just a hint of color in their cheeks – this was usually hand painted after the photo was taken.

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This photo was taken about 1865-1870.  The skirt is still rather full, not the narrow, pulled back to a bustle style of the 1873-1879 time period.  The bell-shaped over-sleeves are also an 1860’s style.  This woman’s cheeks have just tint of pink.

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And the third photo is definitely taken in the 1870’s – the narrow skirt, fitted sleeves.  If the woman was turned a little more I’m sure we would see her bustle!  I’ve always wondered, with the narrow skirts and huge bustle in back – how did they comfortably sit?  I hope you’ve enjoyed the parade of tintypes!



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