Dating tin types

More common were what are known as 1/6th-plate tintypes, which are roughly 2¾-by-3¼ inches.

Tintypes were also popular with tourists at resorts and arcades, so much so that the medium persisted well into the 1930s.

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Patented in 1856, tintypes were seen as an improvement upon unstable, paper daguerreotypes and fragile, glass ambrotypes.

Because this task was performed in the studio or sometimes in the field, the dimensions and uniformity of tintypes can vary, with rounded corners being the most common deviation from pure rectangles.

Many tintypes were also trimmed after the fact by customers, who would gladly sacrifice an edge or two to fit their tintype into an existing frame.

The smallest tintypes were called gems for their tiny (½-by-1 inch) size.

These tintypes were so small, they were often secreted into lockets and worn by a loved one like a piece of jewelry.

Last modified 27-Jan-2015 17:39