Transition Images (circa 1853-1930s)
TinType Camera
Camera Credit: J.T Chapman Science Museum Group Collection


The last format that would make use of protective cases were tintypes. Also known as ferrotypes because of the iron plates the images were captured on, they proved even more popular due to the ease with which they could be produced and their much lower cost.
Though they still were unique images, tintypes would remain one of the staples for making portraits for nearly a century.

When first introduced in the 1850s, they employed specially designed miniature cases. These were soon replaced with cheap cardboard sleeves with special windows that allowed the photo to be seen through an elaborate printed frame. These would be produced up until the 1930s. Gone forever were the earlier fancy artistic cases with their velvet-lined, glass-covered, and brass-framed images.

TinType of photograph
Tintype of Abraham Lincoln

Tintypes were cheaper and easier to produce than other photography formats.Chemically treated iron plates were used to make one-of-a-kind images.

Abraham Lincoln even used them to make campaign buttons in 1860!

During the Civil War, many soldiers had tintype portraits taken by photographers that followed the armies as they traveled. Tintypes became popular mementos for tourists at events and landmarks.