Unknown Family Photos

From the Bowman, George & Custer Lines All from Photographers in & Around Johnstown, PA.

Old "TinType" Photos
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 instantly popular.

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 non-silver).

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.

Tintypes were eventually superseded by gelatin emulsion dry plates in the 1880s, though street photographers in various parts of the world continued with this process until the 1950s.

Old Photos on Photo Postcard Stock

During the late nineteenth century, various photographers created the bulk of the photographs contained in this collection, which primarily feature citizens of Johnstown, Pennsylvania. The majority of the portraits are likely cabinet card photographs, since they are mounted on a heavy paper stock; measure approximately 4 x 6 inches; and feature ornate Victorian logos on the front and back to advertise the photographer's studio. Photographers also created studio portraits in Allegheny, Apollo, Blairsville, Braddock, and Indiana, Pennsylvania.