Old Photos

Three Gem Tintype Photographs In Paper Sleeves

These three photographs are a bit of a puzzle – but now we enjoy finding the answers, don’t we?  I wanted you to see the three photos as I bought them – they are tintypes in paper sleeves, all very similar but with a different decoration surrounding the photo.  It’s when we take them out of the paper sleeves to study them that questions begin to arise.

Tintype photos are exactly what they sound like – a photograph on a piece of tin cut to size, with angles cut on the corners.  Two photographs are 1 1/2″ x 2″, one (below) 1 1/4″ x 1 1/5″, the paper sleeves 2 1/2″ x 4″.  Traditional paper sleeves were used in the 1870’s, but these smaller photographs, called gem tintypes, were found during 1864-1866.  And if we look closely at the clothing of our three subjects, this date is correct.

All three women have the off the shoulder sleeve found during this time period, almost coming down to the armpit.  The large bishop sleeves of each is another indication.

The bonnet of the woman above, with the very wide ribbon strings, is from the latter Civil War days.  The wide decoration on her bodice was very popular.

The corded trim on this woman’s bodice is quite attractive.  She wears her hair parted in the middle and pulled back as per the time period.

Our little girl is richly dressed in a shiny, patterned material.  Her large sleeves look as if it took quite a bit of material to make them.  As per the other ladies, she gives no sweet smile, just a somber look.


1 reply »

  1. These old tin types are great! This was an education for me on tin types. Can you give us readers the location you made the purchase? That is what I always want to know every time you post one of these old photographs.

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