Tintype in America, 1856-1880 (American Philosophical Society Transaction 97-2, ISBN: 0871699729)

July 7, 2010 at 2:10 pm Leave a comment


Read more about our selection of books on 19th century photography. >>


Tintype in America, 1856-1880
(American Philosophical Society Transaction 97-2, ISBN: 0871699729)
by Janice G. Schimmelman (Paperback, 270 pages, 2007, $29.00)

Tintype in AmericaA history of the ferrotype or tintype in American photography, from its origin in the 1850s until 1880.

Schimmelman, Professor of Art History, presents a history of the technological development of the tintype and its manufacture, and touches upon a number of issues relating to the cultural and social aspects of the tintype. She lays an interesting groundwork for thinking about the class dimensions of Victorian aesthetics and about the political economy of taste.

The heart of the book is the extended accounts of the improvements in the presentation of the images and of the inventors and businessmen who made the improvements and advanced their careers in the business. Raises important issues in art history and the history of photography. Includes over 200 reproductions of actual tintypes.

[A]n excellent resource for collectors, researchers, and nineteenth-century photography enthusiasts,” writes Dennis O. Williams in The Daguerreian Society Newsletter (20:2, May-July 2008) [PDF].

“Schimmelman guides the reader through the book in a chronological fashion that the reader can easily follow. Through the writing of this text, her passion for the photographic history of the tintype has indeed been preserved. The organization of the book is splendid. Along with the wealth of written history to complement the story, Schimmelman includes examples of patent drawings and photographic advertisements. Exemplifying the depth of research that went into this book, a reference section concludes each chapter. ”

People posing for tintypes.
Tintype in America, 1856-1880, p.48.

The journal Early Popular Visual Culture (8:2, May 2010) adds: “This is not the only book on the tintype photograph, but it is probably the most comprehensive, being based on years of collecting and research by the author, with information culled from books, photographic journals and newspapers.”

“As the author puts it, these images offer ‘small windows into American life.’ The book is good on the themes of these photographs, and Chapter 9 is arranged thematically, dealing with such subjects as death and remembrance, Americans at play and work, and beloved children.

“Elsewhere in the book the author covers the invention and development of the process, various kinds of studios and albums, and double exposures, as well as techniques for retouching and colouring tintypes.”

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The Long Route to the Invention of the Telescope (American Philosophical Society Transaction 98-5, ISBN: 9781606189856) American Photographic Patents 1840-1880: The Daguerreotype and Wet Plate Era (ISBN: 1887694218)

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