Tintype Photography: Feedback on Tintype Business Article

Here is a reader's feedback and the author's update on a tintype photography business article published in 1975.

| March/April 1976

That was a fine article ("A 19th Century Business You Can Start Today", by Daniel Ogden) in MOTHER NO. March/April 1975 on tintype photography, but it's not the whole story by any means. Tintype was only one of the early photographic processes, and in my mind not the most important one at that.

The very first pictures were daguerreotypes, which were made with silver (or silver-coated) plates. They had a fine metallic appearance and were quite beautiful. The Spiratone Company — which advertises in all the camera magazines — sells a photo paper which recreates this effect nicely.

Then too, don't forget that Matthew Brady photographed the Civil War on negatives made of glass plates and printed his exposures on coated paper. You can still purchase this "Studio Paper" from Kodak and make prints on it with the sun's light. (You can also buy glass plates from Kodak. Ask your photo dealer, and he'll special order them for you.)

As for tintypes themselves, good equipment is now being sold not only by Elbinger and Sun but by Porter's Camera Store of Cedar Rapids, Iowa (their ads are in most of the photo mags).

Now that most studios have converted to color roll film, there's an abundance of used wooden bellows-type cameras available for under $100 — complete with lens — that are well-suited to old-time photographic work. (If the camera has been painted gray or white, the paint may be stripped off to reveal the fine wood underneath.)

Other fans of "old time" photography have found themselves a used Mandel street photographer's camera and tinkered with it until they've gotten it to work again.

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