The TINTYPE process
The tintype, also known as a ferrotype,
is a variation on this, but produced on metallic sheet (not,
actually, tin) instead of glass. The plate was coated with collodion
and sensitized just before use, as in the wet plate process. It was
introduced by Adolphe Alexandre Martin in 1853**, and became
The most common size
was about the same as the carte-de-visite, 2 1/4'' x 3 1/2'', but
both larger and smaller ferrotypes were made. The smallest were
"Little Gem" tintypes, about the size of a postage-stamp, made
simultaneously on a single plate in a camera with 12 or 16 lenses.
In fact, the
original name for Tintype was "Melainotype." It is perhaps worth
adding that there was no tin in them. Some have suggested that the
name after the tin shears used to separate the images from the whole
plate, others that it was just a way of saying "cheap metal" (ie
The print would come
out laterally reversed (as one sees oneself in a mirror); either
people did not worry about this, or just possibly they did not
discover it until after the photographer had disappeared!
Being quite rugged,
tintypes could be sent by post, and many astute tintypists did quite
a trade in America during the Civil War, visiting the encampments.
Later, some even had their shop on river-boats.
eventually superseded by gelatin emulsion dry plates in the 1880s,
though street photographers in various parts of the world continued
with this process until the 1950s.