Fred Jones, born June 15, 1855, ca. 1861, Concord, New Hampshire. Here’s a photo of a little boy dressed up as a soldier. I haven’t done any further research into the Jones family of Concord, but I’d suspect that little Fred’s dad went off to war and Fred was just playing his part and being patriotic, imitating dad.
The image is a black glass ambrotype in a thermoplastic/gutta percha frame, suited to hang on a wall. I acquired this one from a descendant of the subject, so it came with more biographical data than is usual. While I’m glad I was able to buy it, I can’t imagine how anyone could let such a piece of family history be sold out of the family. My apologies in advance to my Facebook friends who have already seen this image, but it was so neat that when it arrived, I couldn’t resist posting it with my iPhone immediately.
This next image is an “occupational” tintype. A popular genre in its day, the occupational photograph shows ordinary working-class people with tools of their trade and/or professional attire that showed who and what they were (railroad conductors, butchers, carpenters etc). This has become a very popular genre to collect, and certain professions are much more collectible than others (anything to do with photography is highly sought after, for example).
Two men and a bicycle. This was inspired by a friend of mine who collects images of men with facial hair and images of bicycles – killing two birds with one stone here. My guess on the age of the image, based on the bike tires, would be sometime between 1890-1910. Pneumatic bike tires were invented in 1889, and first commercially produced in 1890.
And last but certainly not least, a nice 1/6 plate daguerreotype. Because the scanner picks up every little dust particle, it’s hard to tell from the scan that this is actually one of the most lovely daguerreotypes in my collection. Virtually free of imperfections, from wipe marks to polishing scratches, this image of a young man in a rich wool coat is truly striking. It is in a very red leather case (most cases are brown), complete. The hinge has been replaced with modern tape, but otherwise the whole is quite original.
I’m still trying to figure out how to post my Brady clear glass ambro – when I can get a little table-top studio set configured in my dining room, I’ll take photos of it to post here. The trick with it is that the image is viewable from both sides. There is no black backing paper, and the case is in three pieces – a front cover, a center panel with the image, and a rear cover, all hinged together like a little book. I’ll have to do some creative posing of the piece to demonstrate this and to display the image clearly. I’ve seen very few ambrotypes presented this way, and the few I have were also Mathew Brady images. I’m far from a fount of knowledge on this subject, so I don’t know if this was a uniquely Brady thing to do, or if I just haven’t seen enough images yet to know how widespread the practice actually was.