The Tintype

“No other form of photography does as much to convey the social and economic upheavals of the late 19th century.” – Karen Rosenberg

Unidentified soldier in uniform, circa 1861-1865. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

The tintype, a form of wet-plate photography, gets very little love from photo historians. Read just about any general history of photography, and you might find them wedged under the ambrotype section. They could be described as the poor man’s daguerreotype, and that may explain their typical relegation to mere mention. However, tintypes were unique from daguerreotypes and ambrotypes in a few key ways and as such they had an important impact on Americans and the future of photography. Continue reading