Old Photos

Gentlemen’s Photos 1860-1895

Women’s photographs are always more interesting, and there are more of them than men’s.  Women’s dresses, hair styles and jewelry always draw our attention.  But men’s clothing, hair and hat styles can be just as interesting.

This first gentleman’s photo is a carte-de-visite – or something similar.  I believe this photo was taken about 1860, possibly 1859.  Instead of being the exact 2 1/2″ x 4″ as the carte-de-visite, this card measures 2 7/16″ x 4 3/16″.  In the early days the cards were not exactly measured and thus gives us a hint to its age.  The gentleman wears the long, oversized coat of this era – note it almost comes to his knees.  The collar of his shirt is not as tall as in later years and his very narrow silk tie is a signature of the very early 1860’s.

Our next two photos are tintypes, but not the very early tintypes of of 1858-1864.  The 1880’s saw a resurgence of this method of photography.  By this point photographs were even cheaper to make and film technology improved to make the photographic process faster.  Many cities had photography studios, as well as carnivals and fairs which gave a souvenir of the event.  It looks as if the above photo was taken in a tent, there are what look like ties at the bottom left, and studios would have a more interesting background than white with a solitary chair.

This gentleman  wears a shirt of the 1880’s with it’s sharp, pointed collar.  His suit is more tailored to his physique and he wears a famous bowler hat of the time period.  This tintype is 2 1/2″ x 3 1/2″.

Our second tintype is much smaller in size, 1 3/4″ x 2 1/2″.  You can just see the wide, colorful tie in the v between his collar and vest.  Another 1880’s photograph.

Our next two photos are unusual sized cards of the late 1880’s to 1890’s  measuring 5 1/8″ x 7 1/4″, instead of the 4 1/4″ x 6 1/2″ of the more popular cabinet cards.  In addition to the unusual size the dark green and black card backgrounds were used only 1884-1895.  Both use studio backgrounds and props.  1886 saw the use of large fake rocks.

I believe it is the first time I have seen men holding a cigarette or slim cigar – hard to tell which it is.  In the above photo the cigarette is actually lit.  The stylish gentleman above wears a dapper hat and sports a mustache.  Quite a man about town.

This is the only photograph that is identified.  Please meet Andrew S. Leitch.  The photo was taken by Charles Keil’s Studio at 691 Myrtle Avenue in Brooklyn, New York.

 Another sharply dressed gentleman.  His silk tie has a decorative pin in the knot.  Could you get any more props in this photo?  The animal skin rug was in use during the 1880’s.  This photo was taken in Allentown, Pennsylvania.

I hope you’ve enjoyed today’s photos.  Do you have any photos that match any of this dates?


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