Monday, September 18, 2006

Baseball Tintypes (1)

I've been asked in multiple occasions to explain what a Tintype photograph is, so I thought this would be an interesting topic to write about now that I'm back from a short 2 week vacation with the family.

Let's start with some basic information about tintype photographs before talking about baseball tintypes.

Definition: tin·type, also known as a ferrotype photograph, is a negative image produced on a thin piece of black enameled iron plate, viewed as a positive due to the black enamel background.

Tintypes were a popular photographic method since 1860 until the 1890's due to their simple making process as well as their low price.

Tintypes are part of the solid or hard type photographs group, along Daguerreotypes (glass plate) and Ambrotypes (Copper Plate).

Tintypes were made in many sizes, as shown on the list below. (Sizes are aprox)

Full Plate: 6.5" x 8.5" (Rarest)
Half Plate: 4.5" x 5.5"
Quarter Plate: 3.5" x 4.125"
Sixth Plate: 2.625" x 3.25"
Ninth Plate: 2" x 2.5"
Sixteenth Plate: 1.375" x 1.625"
Gem: 1"x1" or smaller

Baseball Tintypes: The tintype process, particularly an american process, was used during the days of our national pastime infancy so it is not uncommon to find a good size of baseball related tintypes.

Most of the baseball tintypes known are from the 1870's-1890's three decade period with just a bunch of the examples coming from the 1860's.

Examples like the one above, showing a full dressed 1860's club, are simply non-existant, not to mention the fact that this is a gem sized image measuring just an inch on both height and width.

Part 2 on my next post.