Hello, baby

Mounted Tin Types 8 W

Baby with a shawl

Before I gave you all those wonderful Christmas cards, I teased you about a tintype that would make you say “awww.” Well, two months later, I hope you didn’t hold your breath, but here it finally is!

This baby was photographed by T. M. Saurman, as were several previous portraits (to view them click on the category T. M. Saurman under photographers). The child’s hair was carefully parted over the forehead, suggesting to me that this is a girl. The shawl may be for looks, or may be a way to tie the baby to the chair. It also appears there is *something* to her left, like the arm of a parent. The mount features embossed scrolling to frame the image with dramatic and beautiful effect.

Ooh, baby it's a smile world

Taken at T. M. Saurman’s Superior Skylight Gallery

Unfortunately for us, the baby and her supposed parents were not identified.

 

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Scrolled borders

Mounted Tin Types 13 W

Nice goatee and pink cheeks

Mounted Tin Types 11 W

Striped bodice and bow

These two tintype photos share the same scrolled border as our last photo of the middle aged woman, and for that reason I suspect they were made by the same photographer, and are family. I can’t decide of they are married or siblings, however. What is your opinion?

Mounted Tin Types 13 Back W Mounted Tin Types 11 Back W

 

Here are the backmarks of these two photos. T. M. Saurman at the corner of Main & Green Streets in Norristown, PA was a young photographer in 1870, just 23.

Thomas M. Saurman was a busy man! Born in about 1846, in 1860 he was living with his mother and family in Norristown, PA. One of the people living in the home was Frederick Spane, a painter, and someone who’s name comes up as an artist & photographer in the Norristown area. It is possible Saurman learned his trade from Spane or was inspired by him.

In 1870, Saurman was married to Eliza Davis (married in 1867) and they had a child Mary V born about 1870, as well as Eliza’s brother Charles Davis living with them.

The 1880 census is a bit sparse on information, showing Thomas living with his mother Catherine, along with his brother Othenel, aged 26, and they are both photographers. Also listed is Mary, age 17 and daughter in law to Catherine, as well as James, a 7 month old, listed as son of the head of household, which was Catherine. Maybe he was actually Mary’s child. It’s difficult to sort.

Finally, the 1900 census shows Thomas at age 55 still a photographer, his wife Eliza at age 53, daughters Mary age 30, Edith age 26, Norma age 15 and Mable age 12. Son Louis age 24 was a photographer and James age 22 was a druggist.

Here’s some more of the fun stuff. Thomas Saurman was awarded three patents. First was a print cutting apparatus in 1872. Next was a method to improve the drying of photographic plates in 1874. Finally was an improvement to a tobacco smoking pipe in 1902. Further, his son James was in the news for his pharmacology work.

Next time, another Saurman photo with a different card that will have you saying “awww.”

Softly falling jowls and a wardrobe malfunction

Mounted Tin Types 2 W

Is her dress coming open here?

A nice tintype of an older lady, maybe in her 50s? I have heard a lot of talk lately about tintypes adding years to a person’s face, so unless I see actual age signs, I’m a bit hesitant to guess. However, this lady does have the drooping eyelids and softly falling jowls of middle age.

From what I can see of her dress, it is a gathered front bodice with dropped shoulder seams, putting the dress in the 1860s. Unless my eyes are deceiving me, it looks like the front opening of the dress has popped open a smidge, showing a glimpse of the white undergarments or lining.

I read a little bit about dating tintypes in paper sleeves, and while I am confident this image is from the 1860s, I’m not certain as to what part. There was a style of paper sleeve called a cartouche that was popular until about 1865. The cartouche was characterized by an oval opening and decorative motifs around the opening. What makes me uncertain about this one is that the motifs are in the corners of the card. I’m not well versed enough in 1860s cartouche sleeves to know if that is exactly what this is. But, I’m leaning toward the second half of the 60s, or even the very end of the 60s. The card itself is CDV sized to fit with the popular styles of the time.

The style of motifs correspond with some other images I found in the same lot, so I am going to assume they were made by the same photographer, which was T. M. Saurman in Morristown, PA. My research into Saurman confuses me further on dating this particular image. He was found in the 1870 census to be only 23 years old. Could he have been in business in 1865 at only 18 years old? I find that unlikely. So this is probably not a cartouche in the style that was popular until about 1865, but an updated version for the use of photographic artists who made tintypes well until the 1900s. More on T. M. Saurman in my next post! Don’t go away.

 

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