Carnival Era Tintypes

This photograph is a tintype, of the same size as a carte-de-visite photograph on a card – 2 1/2 x 4 1/2 inches.  The very early tintypes were encased in little black cases lined with red velvet.  From about 1864 to 1900 it was realized that tintypes could survive without the case, so many were delivered in decorative paper covers or envelopes.  This is the case with this photo, as shown below.  Out of the case you can see the wear and tear on the photo over the years.

By the 1890s, many tintypes were taken at seaside resorts, county fairs and carnivals.  Since they were produced so quickly, these tintypes became a popular memento of a favorite outing.  And, of course, they could also be made in a photographer’s studio.

Unfortunately we do not know the woman’s name shown here.  She has a rather old-fashioned hair style, but looks very neat in her over-sleeves trimmed with lace, and the same bit of lace on the collar.  It is difficult to impossible to date these tintypes without a cover sleeve.  Since this photo does have a sleeve, we know the photographer is Ritter L. C. Rambo, Practical Photographer, 4080 Lancaster Avenue, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

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