Dating photograph mounts


AMBROTYPE (1854 to the end of the Civil War)The ambrotype is a thin negative image on glass made to appear as a positive by showing it against a black background. It couldn't withstand travel or being carried in a locket as a daguerreotype could. The tintype actually does not contain any tin, but is made of thin black iron.

Similar to daguerreotype in assembly of parts: 1-Disadvantages of ambrotypes: 1. sold for a penny or less, making photography universally available. It is sometimes confused with ambrotypes and daguerreotypes, but is easily distinguishable from them by the fact that a tintype attracts a small magnet. The earliest tintypes were on heavy metal (0.017 inches thick) that was never again used.

Wet mounting is usually very permanent and can cause a photo to yellow or decay over time, so it is not recommended as a preservation method.

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The cost: $5.00 (more than a weeks pay for most people). Calotypes were never widely popular, and most of those surviving are in museums. In their place, paper folders of the size of the then popular card photographs were used for protection.

Apparently Talbot (the inventor) did not fully realize the importance of washing his prints long enough to remove all the residual chemicals, or perhaps his fixing was inadequate. Instead of a glass cover, the photographer covered the tintype with a quick varnish to protect any tints or colors added to cheeks, lips, jewelry or buttons.

This sealed packet was then force fit into a special wood case and was often padded with velvet or silk. The first step was to make a negative image on a light sensitive paper.

Many times, the silver image tarnishes with silver sulfide in the same way as silverware. Step two was to make a contact [print] with a second sheet of sensitized paper to make a positive print. As the public sought lower prices, the cases (which cost more than the finished photographs) were eliminated.

In the early 1860s, both types of photographs were essentially the same in process and design.