Restoring an 1870’s tintype

A tintype was “a photograph made by creating a direct positive on a sheet of iron metal that is blackened by painting, lacquering or enamelling and is used as a support for a collodion photographic emulsion.” They were popular in the second half of the 19th century before being replaced by film and plate cameras.

Top Dog Imaging has a fascinating series of pictures showing how a tintype dating from the 1870’s was restored by digitizing it, then using photo editing software. Here’s a reduced-size before-and-after comparison.

Go read the article to see intermediate images, and learn the details of how so remarkable a result was achieved. Very interesting reading for everyone who enjoys photography.

Whenever I see old pictures like this, I can’t help but wonder who the person was, what they did to earn their living, where and how they lived, whether their descendants were still alive today . . . pointless speculation, I know, but nevertheless interesting to me. Who was she? What did she do with her life?



  1. What is the difference then between this and daguerreotype photos? Did you ever see the photos by Jerry Spagnoli on the last two pages of the Special Edition of DoubleTake of Sept. 2001? It also looks like a tintype photo, but is called something else.

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