Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Gem Sized Football Tintype c.1890

                                                            Actual size 1" x 1 1/2"

This tintype lies in between the standard gem and a sixteenth plate in size, measuring 1” x 1 1/2” . Smaller tintypes became quite popular as they could be produced more cheaply and in larger numbers, on one plate, with the advent of “multiplying” cameras (introduced in the mid 1850s).
The tintype, introduced in 1856, was more commonly referred to as a ferrotype, not actually a photograph on tin, but on a thin iron sheet that has a japanned surface. As CDVs, cabinet cards and larger format photographs on paper gained in popularity, tintypes quickly fell out of favor.
We have seen roughly twelve to eighteen football tintypes as compared with the many thousands of baseball tintypes that have been documented or have come on the market over the years. The reasons for this are in part related to baseball's earlier beginnings and prevalence, preceding the advent of football in this country by well over a decade and its notable rise in popularity by as many as three decades.
During the first decades of baseball the tintype was a major photographic format. When football was taking hold and establishing its place in the sporting hierarchy, photographs on paper media were the predominant photographic formats. Sports related gem sized tintypes are certainly scarce, as this is the only example we have come across.
I would also recommend looking at two of our other blog entries related to football tintypes (August 11, 2013 and November 3, 2014).