Early Photographic Processes
Reproduced with acknowledgement to
Mike Maltz, Houston, Texas, USA
Mike Maltz, Houston, Texas, USA, asks about the tintype photo above.
Photograph taken where and when?
"This photo is approx. 2.5 ins x
3.75 ins, and is in excellent condition. *
studied by glass and the gun may be a
percussion shotgun. I'm not sure. The dog is possibly a black lab.
say that this picture is European, others say it is American."
* The original photo
was somewhat duller, like many tintypes, so I increased the contrast in
order to bring out more detail in the image. - Peter Stubbs.
have any views on the likely origin of this tintype,
please email me,
and I'll pass on your message to Mike.
Thank you. -
Peter Stubbs: March,19, 2007
Thank you to J M Haynes,
Longview, Texas, USA for sending the following reply:
"The sixgun on the left looks like an 1858
Remington and the one on the right looks like an 1860 Colt. The 1858
Remington is often referred to as the Beal's Army Revolver in the books.
However, that's not a very helpful clue to the
age of this tintype."
"The era of herding cattle north from Texas lasted
only from 1867 to 1887, and this was no glamorous job. Cowboys received rock
bottom wages for gruelling and dangerous work. This was a job that lured few
Easterners eager for adventure.
By the time the cowboy life had become romanticized
in dime novels and periodicals, the cattle herding days were already over."
Wild West Shows
"If these really are Alabamians, I would suggest
something the Hollingsworth descendant is probably not going to like. A
"cowboy craze" swept the American East even as the Old West was
Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show began performing
in the Eastern US and later Europe beginning in 1884, and ran until 1906. It
was during this time that city slickers could, at the Buffalo Bill show and
at many photo studios throughout the East, dress up in cowboy attire and
have their images captured for posterity."
"The shirts on these men are nothing real cowboys
would wear. Fringe on the sleeves indicate these are theatrical costumes. The
clothes on the tall, slim fellow don't fit, and would be completely unsuitable
as work clothes. Evidently the photographer didn't have his size."
"The props for such photography sessions would of
course include six shooters, but they would be obsolete pieces of little value.
Both revolvers in this image would fit the bill. The Remington especially
was unpopular because it was so heavy.
Both these revolvers used percussion caps and black
powder, and consequently were prone to misfires, and chain firing of all rounds
Also note the cast iron hitching post. Architectural
cast iron appeared in New York City in the late 1840's, but was not used at
Chicago in the Mid-West until after the 1871 fire.
For Alabama, cast iron would not date before the
1870's. In the American South, beginning in about 1850 and for decades
afterward, hitching posts and railroad ties tended to be made from Bois D'Arc
wood. Termites won't touch it, and the wood is highly resistant to rot and
"So my bet is on this being a vintage 1890-1900
J M Haynes, Longview, Texas, USA: September 2 + 3, 2006
Response from the owner of the Tintype
Thank you to John Hollingsworth
"The writer was absolutely correct!
Since I sent you the old tin-type, I have
learned more about it. Actually, I received a second copy of this
photo from a relative with these details on the little envelope:
"Taken 68 yrs ago from this date
March 25th 1958."
Apparently the photo was taken March 25th 1890.
The tall guy is William David Hollingsworth born
March 25, 1869 in St. Clair Co., Alabama. So, the photo was taken on
his 21st birthday. I am not sure of the identity of the shorter guy -
possibly his brother, James Henry."
John Hollingsworth of Alabama, USA: September 5 + 6, 2006