View Full Version : 'Fast' Authentic Dry-plate tintype?

18-Sep-2006, 11:32
I'm interested in Victorian photography, mainly tintypes and ambrotypes and would like to produce my own plates at some point. I'd like to give wet-plate a 'go' but the methods involved are a little bit too demanding for me at the moment.
So my only other option, I think, is dry-plate. There doesn't seem to be an awful lot of information available on the dry-plate tintype. Maybe I've been looking in the wrong place, I don't know...So my question is:
Can anyone suggest a good book or website outlining the authentic methods used for making dry-plate tintypes from 1881 to the 1950? ...with pictures.
I live in the UK, so getting my hands on Rockford's tintype chemicals might be problematic.

Jason Greenberg Motamedi
18-Sep-2006, 12:46
Here are some reciepes for Collodion dry plates. I have had luck useing tannin and coffee as preservative. However, I don't think these would be any easier than wet-plate.



18-Sep-2006, 16:45
Thanks for that, Jason. As you said, they look a little bit complicated - I read somewhere that mexican street photographers were makin tintypes right up until the 1970's.

Donald Qualls
18-Sep-2006, 17:43
Mexican, South American, and Indian street photographers were selling photographs that looked a lot like tintypes into the 1990s -- might still be, I don't know that the company that sold the material has gone out of business. They used modern dry gelatin emulsion on black paper, developed in a monobath in a chamber below the camera (which included dark-bag functionality, with light tight sleeves for manipulating the "plates"), and handed over to the customer still wet.

They weren't collodion, either wet or dry, however, and I'm told by those who've handled both that they were only a dull ghost of a genuine tintype. And they weren't on steel (or even aluminum) plates. They were, however, a way to provide an almost instant print (about five minutes from exposure to mounting the wet print into the case) at far lower cost than Polaroid, and kept a number of street photographers in business for decades.

19-Sep-2006, 03:46
Thanks people! Just one more reason to visit Mexico... I'd love to see some of those prints.