In the Eye of the Camera, 1840-1867

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MP-0000.502.2 MP-1985.10.1.1 MP-0000.542 MP-1975.209.4 MP-1974.114.3 I-6243.1 N-0000.157 I-43974.1 I-26442
 
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Photograph - Tyntipe
Mme Charles Lagacé ?, QC, about 1885
About 1885, 19th century
Silver salts on metal (iron) - Wet collodion process
7.9 x 5.6 cm
Gift of Mme Lagacé
MP-1974.114.3
© McCord Museum
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Keys to History

Ferrotypes, also known as tintypes, use exactly the same process as ambrotypes, but the plate is a piece of black-enamelled metal. The necessary black background is provided by the paint on the metal, but as in daguerreotypes, the image is reversed. Again, the plate that was in the camera at the time the photograph was taken is sold to the customer. The picture is unique in the world; there is no "negative", and if you wanted another one, you would have to pose again. Ferrotypes are very durable, and the process remained popular for a very long time, from the mid-1850s to the 1920s. They were a favourite with carnivals and itinerant photographers, who would travel from town to village, setting up temporary studios and making ferrotypes for people, then moving on to the next village. They might be in the full hinged case like daguerreotypes and ambrotypes, but were often loose, with no case, or in paper frames. Ferrotypes in cases resemble ambrotypes so closely that often the only way to tell the difference is to use a magnet.