Four men and a tintype

tn-vintage-pix-9

This fine image is a tintype I found in the great Tennessee vacation haul at the World’s Longest Yard Sale. There was another woman and I who seemed to be on the same route, each of us rushing to find the photos at each individual stall. I felt lucky to find this great piece, because look at all the character here!

We have a stringy beard and hard, hard gaze on our seated fellow; a bowler hat hiding at the side of the young gent to the left; a droopy mustache on the standing fellow to the right; and oh, so much angst in the face of the kneeling dude.

These characters make me wonder and imagine what they were up to…was it no good? Did they go on to rob a bank or help the poor? They sure look like a group of vintage bad boys to me! It is impossible to know, but these great old pictures make us consider just who they were, don’t they?

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Ello, gov’na

Gem Hats 5 W

One of these faces is not like the others

You must have thought I forgot about you! And, well, I sort of did. We had some upheaval around the homestead, and I had to focus there instead of here. Thanks for bearing with me. Your reward is another fine page from this Haberdasher’s gem tintype album. Being as men were often coiffed and whiskered in the 19th century, it is all the more obvious in a group when one man is the odd man out. Who knows why he did not wear a mustache or beard. It is a personal choice that is also influenced by fashion trends. Maybe his wife didn’t like it. Click each image below for greater detail.

Gem Hats 5 TL Gem Hats 5 TR Gem Hats 5 BL Gem Hats 5 BR

Where did she go?

Where did she go??

Where did she go??

Today we have a sad story. This beautiful CDV sized card surrounds a gem tintype that has been worn over the years until the facial features have been completely obliterated. I can tell this was a woman. There is the typical center part to her hair and it was oiled down smoothly to her head. I can also see a white collar and large neckerchief bow. These two fashion aspects put the date in the early 1860s, and this could even have been a reprint of an older daguerrotype. Other than those two visible clues, she is well and truly lost.

This little disaster tells us two things. One is that old photographs are very delicate. Tintypes were printed onto metal plates with an emulsion and varnish covering them. They are highly susceptible to scratching and wear. Photographs printed on paper and mounted on a card are equally fragile and can be ripped, scratched, written on, burned, and also fade with exposure to sunlight. These antique images can be damaged irreparably and when they were the only photo of the person made, it is a shame to have lost the record of their appearance. We take this so much for granted today. I can’t imagine someone passing from this life without a photographic record of them being left behind. We have ID photos for driving, working, education, etc., plus in much of the world, cameras are not such a luxury any more, and many people have one in their pocket at all times on modern smart phones. The second thing this destroyed image tells us is a story of perhaps someone rubbing away the image with a finger, over time, whether the tintype was a touchstone to the past, or they were trying to remove the memory of something painful, we can never know.

The paper folder that the gem has been mounted in is interesting. It is light blue in color with gold printing that features a ship and nautical stars under a rising sun, stars in the corners, two vases on pediments, holding star shaped flowers, and ivy with star shaped leaves at the top corners. The entire border is a type of Greek key design. There was no photographer’s information on the back. There is surely some analogy and metaphor in the images featured on the card, but I do not know what they were meant to represent.

I am submitting this as a Sepia Saturday post! Please click through and discover a world of amazing sepia images from around the world!

Onward through the blogosphere

Pink bow tie

Mounted Tin Types 7 W

Is this a repeat subject?

Mounted Tin Types 7 Back W

Lovejoy’s Studio mark

This tintype photograph looks remarkably like the fellow we saw back before the holidays, who had his portrait done by T. M. Saurman. The resemblance is strong, so it’s either the same man or his brother. This photograph features some hand tinting on the bowtie, making it pink. The backmark shows that this image was made at Lovejoy’s at 429 North Second Street, Above Willow, Philadelphia PA. I found a match to C. L. Lovejoy who was apparently known for his exquisite hand coloring work! He was known to be in business during the 1870s, however I must point out that the corners of this card have been cut and that is typical of 1860s cards. It is possible he bought these cards right at the end of the 60s or bought out old stock from another photographer. In January 1870, Lovejoy was the outgoing president of the Ferrotypers Association of Philadelphia – ferrotypes being another name for tintypes.

Check back again for another Lovejoy image next time!

 

I promise, I’m happy!

Mounted Tin Types 4 W

Mounted Tin Types 4 Back W

 

This is Grandmother Ridge, Caroline Elizabeth Ridge – Jane Bucks’ mother. She looks a bit like she doesn’t trust the photographer. I did find a Caroline Ridge, married to James Ridge, living in Maryland during the 1850 census, and one of their children was named Jane.

James Ridge (about 1809)

Caroline (about 1814)

Riley (about 1829)

Silas (about 1789)

Jane (about 1835)

Elizabeth (about 1837)

Merrit (about 1841)

Susan (about 1843)

Caroline (about 1848)

James (1850)

James the elder, Riley and Elizabeth were listed as farmers. Of course, I cannot be certain this is the correct family of Caroline Ridge pictured.

 

 

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.

 

Mother & Daughter lean on their fingers

Mounted Tin Types W

Hello, dearie

Mounted Tin Types 1 W

Oh, Mother!

I found these two mounted tintypes in an online auction and loved the fact that they are clearly mother & daughter AND that the subjects are in the exact same pose.  They even have matching embossed stars on the border around the photos.

I asked some very knowledgeable friends of mine about the coat that Mother is wearing, in the first image above. They tend to agree it is a garment called a sacque coat, meaning any sort of coat that buttons at the neck and is loosely hanging on the body. It ends around the waist or hip line. This particular specimen has trimmings around the hem and very large buttons that appear to be decorative rather than functional. A pocket is also evident, with something tucked inside. Perhaps it was a handkerchief or small book. The coat was probably made from wool or wool flannel, and lined with polished cotton or silk. I say “probably” because even though we don’t see the actual details of the garment, these are the most common materials for outerwear at that time. I bet it was very warm and comfortable! We don’t see much detail about her dress, except that it has a small collar and she is wearing a lovely brooch.

Second in line is the daughter, who has a bolero style over bodice with a white Garibaldi style bodice under it. This was a very popular style for young people. The over bodice is similar to the sacque coat in that it fastens at the neck and hangs loosely around the body. You can also see her large belt buckle. The dress was probably made from a fine wool, and the over bodice was likely lined with polished cotton in a solid brown or black (the most common lining in extant garments). The Garibaldi bodice was possibly made from fine cotton lawn, sheer wool or silk, depending on the family’s financial situation.

Neither card has a backmark, so I cannot tell anything about the photographer or geographic location where the tin type images were made. Each tin type is approximately 1 1/4″ by 1 1/2″, and is affixed to the mount with a sheet of thin paper glued over it. The mother’s card was trimmed down, presumably to fit into a frame or photo album. They are lovely representations of the American Civil War era or slightly thereafter, definitely pre-1870s.

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