Teeny tiny tintype

This is Emily Burt Bradford, grandmother and namesake of Emily Burt Holmes Marvin, from whose family papers it comes.

Emily Burt Bradford, no date

Emily Burt Bradford, no date

It is a tintype, an early form of photography.  The images on tintypes, like daguerrotypes and ambrotypes, were unique photographs captured directly, meaning there was no intervening negative. The underlying support for the image is also different: tintypes were “printed” on thin pieces of iron or steel, darkened by paint, enamel or lacquer. Also called ferrotypes or melainotypes, they were more durable than other early photographic images, which were produced on glass.

This particular image has no date, but tintypes were common from the1850s into the 1930s.  And this one is small.  How small exactly?

Emily Burt Bradford, with stamp, no date

Emily Burt Bradford, with stamp, no date

This small.


About LHR

We are the staff and volunteers of the Local History Room at the Kingston (Mass.) Public Library.
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One Response to Teeny tiny tintype

  1. Cool, huh? These ones are called gem tintypes. Abraham Lincoln actually had a lot of these made up for political buttons and he even attributed these to helping him win the 1860 and 1864 elections. Most constituents didn’t even know what their politicians looked like before then.

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