Tag Archives: tintypes

Let Me Introduce You to the Linton Family!

While visiting the Linton house in Logan County, my cousin, Garwood Linton, let me look through all the old family photographs.  As with most, few were named.  But that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy them!  Today I share a few with you from Garwood’s collection – with my guesses for who they may be.

This is a beautiful photograph of an older woman.  Notice her fine features, her sweet face – and her hands!  She holds her spectacles in one, and a book in another.  They look like they’ve worked hard during her years of life.

This photograph is a cabinet card – 6.5″ x 4.25″.  It was made in Bowling Green, Kentucky, not far from Russellville, by Bettison’s Studio.  This is an early cabinet card, no frills, that I would date to about 1872.  If we check the family tree, this could possibly be Garwood’s 3rd great-grandmother, Nancy Jane Newman, born in 1822, died 1879, who married Benjamin Burkett Linton.

Isn’t this a beautiful woman?  This is a tintype photo, taken about 1885, my guess.  Tintypes do not have the name of the photographer listed.

A handsome gentleman is next.  This is a carte de visite, 2.5″ x 4″.  The photographer was L. D. Robertson, South Side Public Square, Franklin, Kentucky.  The Linton family lived in Logan County between the towns of Russellville and Franklin (in Simpson County).  Due to the large sleeves and lapels of the coat, this photo was most likely taken in the 1860’s.   Could this be a young Thomas Alney Linton?

This is an 1870’s gent – the lapels of his coat are smaller, and buttoned at the top.  He wears a very  nice watch chain!  Another tintype, but I can’t say who this man might be.

Here we have a photo of a handsome couple.  The bustle lets us know this is from the 1870’s.  The man wears a slightly larger jacket than this time period, but it could have been held over from previous years.  This tintype has just a bit of color added to the cheeks.

Next we have this cherub!  What adorable sweetness!  The tiny feet and hands, hair sticking up – and sitting in a tiny chair!  This is a very old carte de visite, perhaps taken in 1862.  There is no border or photographer’s name on the card.  This child is obviously a year of age or younger.  Checking the data base for Linton descendants from the patriarch, Benjamin Franklin Linton, one child does fit this age – his granddaughter, Louella C. Linton, daughter of Benjamin Burkett Linton – and sister to John Wesley Linton who owned this home.  Unfortunately Louella lived only a year or two.  If this is her photo, it’s probably the only one taken of her.

What a treat to look through a large drawer of photos from another time period!  Thank you, Cousin!

Where Were Those Daguerreotypes, Ambrotypes and Tintypes Taken?

After writing the blogs last week about the very old family photographs I have, I couldn’t help but think – where did they have these photos taken?  This lead to another search.  Located in Washington County, I believe they must have gone to Louisville.  It would have been the nearest large city, so that was where I focused my research.

Thomas Jefferson Dobyns was a daguerreotypist, ambrotypist and merchant, active in Memphis, Tennessee, as early as 1845.  He opened a studio in Louisville in 1847, and one in Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1848; two years later Vicksburg and Nashville contained his studios, as well as New Orleans in 1851 and New York in 1853.

According to From Pioneer Photographers from the Mississippi to the Continental Divide, by Peter E. Palquist and Thomas R. Kailbroun, Dobyns opened his ‘Daguerreian gallery in Memphis across from the Continental Hotel in late August 1845, in time to take advantage of the crowds of delegates in town to attend the Western and Southwestern Convention’ and as of June 1846, advertised that ‘he had a camera large enough to execute pictures of any size.’

As the above ad in The Louisville Daily Courier, Thursday, February 8, 1855, says, the studio is opened again and with reduced prices.  It lists itself as the oldest gallery in the city, located at the corner of Main and Third Streets.  Dobyns’ partner in Louisville was John Hewett.

This advertisement from an August 21, 1855, Louisville Daily Courier, lists several galleries.  W. A. McGill list prices beginning at 50 cents for a 1/9 size daguerreotype.  He also offers miniatures set in rings, lockets, pins, etc.  50 cent daguerreotypes are also offered by Carpenter and Swymmer.  And Theodore Harris offers photographs in 15 seconds!

I love this advertisement from August 28, 1855, since it gives more information on the types of photographs you can choose – upon a metal plate, glass or paper, from Webster’s Gallery.

Mammoth Gallery says, ‘A blue and white Double Quick Work Sky Light, just introduced by Roesberg, at his well-known Mammoth Daguerrean Gallery, which enables him to take Pictures in a few seconds, and for the reduced price of fifty cents and upwards.  It also is one of the best lights ever known to produce a correct likeness, either of children or adults.  The red hair and blue eyes which heretofore have always been so difficult to produce, are now no longer any trouble, to give them the real artistic disposition of light and shade.’  In addition, he adds, ‘All medium size pictures that are badly taken by other artists, will be retaken over at 50 cents, and if not bettered no charge is made for trying.’

At Brown’s Gallery, an athanotype is ‘a photograph on glass, a picture of exquisite beauty, holding place above daguerreotypes or the ordinary photograph.  The picture is held between plates of glass, and securely protected from all influence of atmosphere, dampness, and even acids, hence it bears every guarantee of durability.’

John M. Hewett, in collaboration with T. J. Dobyns, was located on Main Street between Third and Fourth Streets.  From The Encyclopedia of Louisville, by John E. Kleber, gives us an 1848 description of Hewitt’s studio, ‘as one of the most magnificent in the United States, with a reception room, 65 by 63 feet, furnished with the most costly furniture, including a ‘splendid pianoforte’ kept for the entertainment of visitors.  A separate ‘ladies’ toilet’ was similarly furnished.  Both of these areas were separate from the room where likenesses were taken, which had a ‘magnificent light and is equal to the other rooms spoken of.’  All were ornamented with likenesses ‘of the most eminent men and the most beautiful ladies in the United States.  The Filson Club owns a fine set of daguerreotype portraits by Hewitt, and his work is also found in Louisville family collections.  The studio does not appear in directories after 1856.  In 1852, 23 people engaged in making daguerreotypes that year – only eight studios are listed in the city directory for 1851-52, so they employed an average of two to three individuals.’

From the same book, we learn that during the 1850’s several studios were founded – Webster and Brother (Edward Z. and Israel B. Webster), Theodore Harris, Daniel Stuber and Edward Klauber.

It would be wonderful to know for sure which studio(s) my family visited for their daguerreotypes, ambrotypes and tintypes!

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.

Scan_Pic1218 2

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.

Scan_Pic1219 3

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.

Scan_Pic1221 2

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!