Take notice of the details in the photo you are trying to date and see if any of the items are here. If you don't know what these items are, it worth looking into. It might be just the object that's in your photograph and you just didn't know the name of it. You may have a copy of a photograph so the materials your image was made from is unknown, this may be the route you need to take.
Contents of this page:
What are Balustrades and Plinths?
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Early photographs did not have the names of the photographers on them and were usually in studios but later on photographers began using their photographs like business cards while they traveled, taking photos of anyone who was interested. In the 1860s and their stamps were simple like this one on the left.
You may want to research the local photographer on your photograph. There are business records with their addresses and dates when they were in business. This method of dating a photo may be the one which narrows the date best, depending on how often the photographer moved. They may have only been at one address for short period.
Restored and enlarge.
1870s - The back of this carde de visite is a sample of the photographers use of the photograph like a business card. Unlike the simple stamp of the 1860s, this one is beautiful.
Here is a photographer we searched for on the Internet. This photograph came from our Antique Photo Album Collection.
(P) J.P. Ball & Son Helena, Montana
Photo dating note: special effects of this era.
J.P. (JAMES PRESLEY) BALL
Ball (1825-1905) was born free in Virginia and opened a one-room photographer’s studio in Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1845. Two years later he became a traveling daguerreotypist, and in 1849 he hired his brother Thomas to operate the Cincinnati business. Ball published a pamphlet in 1855 addressing the horrors of slavery, and he opened an exhibition of enslaved people's experience. In May 1860 the Ball and Thomas Photographic Art Gallery is destroyed by tornado, but rebuilt. After the Civil War, Ball moved to Minneapolis, where he opened his own studio. In 1887 he became the official photographer of the 25th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation held in Minneapolis. He kept moving further west, first to Helena, Montana, then at the turn of the century to Seattle, where he opened a studio under the name of Globe Photo Studio. This text came from this site on History of Black
This is another special effect found in an earlier Carte de visite Photographers. Special effects like these were usually memorial photos of someone who as passed away.
Many of the photographers on these cards can be found on the internet. Of particular note is Mary Anna Clifton Godeus, a San Francisco photographer, whose career began in 1866 and spanned 35 years. At 16 years old she was married. At age 17 she was operating the South Park Photographic Gallery on Third Street with her husband John D. Godeus. They operated several galleries together until 1879. Godeus family lore suggests John then photographed prisoners for mug-shot books at San Quentin Prison. By 1890 the Godeuse's were again operating a studio together until John's death in 1895. (Godeus Street was named in his honor.) Godeus took over with her daughter Mary Clara, also a photographer, continuing to operate the Godeus Art Studio on Sixth Street until at least 1901. There are over 60 surviving images from the Godeus studios. This information came from "Women's Photography After the Gold Rush".
G.W. Pach Brothers
Place of business addresses. If you have a G.W. Pach photo with the address, now you will know what year they were in operation at that particular address. Found at this link, with Bio. http://dlib.nyu.edu/findingaids/html/nyhs/pach_content.html
1866-1867 260 Bowery (Gustavus and Morris Pach as "Pach Brothers")
[1868-1871 absent from city directories]
1871-1877 858 Broadway (Gustavus W. alone)
1877-1881 841 Broadway (Gustavus W. alone)
1881-1885 841 Broadway (Gustavus, Gotthelf & Oscar as "G.W. Pach & Brothers")
1885-1890 841 Broadway (Gustavus, Gotthelf & Oscar as "Pach Brothers")
1890-1902 935 Broadway ("Pach Brothers" listed hereafter)
1902-1903 935 Broadway and 571 Fifth Avenue
1903-1913 935 Broadway
1913-1914 925 Broadway and 570 Fifth Avenue
1914-1933 570 Fifth Avenue
1933-1939 642 Fifth Avenue
1939-1956 5 East 57th Street
1956-1967 673 Fifth Avenue
1967-1994 16 East 53rd Street
Louis Jacques Mande' Daguerre (1787 - 1851)
William Fox Talbot (1800 - 1877)
Robert Adamson (1820 - 1847)
David Octavious Hill (1802 - 1870)
== 1850's ============================
Roger Fenton (1819 - 1869)
Mathew Brady (1823 - 1896)
Julia Margaret Cameron (1815 - 1879)
Eadweard Muybridge (1830 -1904)
== 1870's ============================Go to the top
Frank Meadow Sutcliffe (1853-1941)
Oscar Rejlander (1813 - 1875)
Samples of Photography Props, Photography Trends/Customs
Knowing trends in photography is a great perspective on how to date photographs! Photographers would use stands to keep their subjects from swaying. Look behind his feet. See "History of Photography". that discuss photographic methods that took time so the subjects need to lean on some thing, so they wouldn't sway. The early years the photos were more formal and indoors as exposure time decreased the poses became more relaxed.
Support Stand is highlighted in the restored photo behind his feet.
This red line border and square cut edges of the photograph and the card, is another style of a photography trend of the early 1860s. The paper would curl on it's own and needed to be mounted to stiffer board.
The fringed curtain was customary.
Also, the support stand he is leaning on is not just for looks.
Photo Dating Notes: 1860-70s. Tartan fabric, photographer stamp on back, square corners and gold lines on the frame, fringed chair or arm rest. There was a peek of the curtain in the original. There are many samples of fringe furniture and curtains throughout our antique scrapbook collection on this site.
Fur was very popular with photographers of 1880s. Here it is as a blanket for the baby
and a fur rug for the Ladies
Photo Dating Notes: 1870 Square corner of both photograph and card mount the early bustled dress, drop curtain and fringed chair.
Photo Dating Notes: 1860 - 70, Carte de viste in pastel yellow, pink and green also common. Square corners of photograph and rounded corners on the mount. Wide lapels, shawl collar vest, watch fob.
Photo Dating Notes:
1860, civil war tintype in a very patriotic envelope called a "Cartouche" or with embossed stars around the edge.
Photo Dating Notes: 1880
gold scalloped edges on mount card
Men's clothing first button only done on his suit
vertical puff sleeves
curly bangs on her
Photo Dating Notes:
During the mourning period of Queen Victoria, photographers created black cabinet cards with gold rounded edges of the cardboard
Palace Studios, Anaconda, Montana
What they are leaning on here are called Balustrades and the plinth. These photography props can be found in the 1860s but were mostly popular in the 1880s and 1890s. The plain card and square corners of this original photograph, not the card, is what is early 1880s. Also the photographer's name is not present.
Two year old boys wore dresses and spats, up until school age. It easier to keep a boy in dresses for potty training. Their dresses were usually plain, less lace and trim. After the 1910 this practice ended. This photo is a known because it's my husband's father, born in 1909.
John Daigle, police in Putnam, CT.
The tallest is a girl and two boys are up front sporting short haircuts.
The fabric of these dresses is called Tartans. Tartans were popular in 1864.
We don't have a sample of this but none the less there was such a thing as "leading stings" on children's dresses from the 16th to 18th Century. They were strips of fabric matching or coordinated with the dress fabric that were sewn on to the dress at the shoulders, the other end fell freely down the back of the dress. The "strings" were considered practical for guiding younger children as they walked.
This photograph was taken inside the log cabin.
American-made wallpaper was predominately of the floral and geometric variety. The floral designs, however, tended to be more geometric than realistic. Colors were limited to twelve and usually only 6 to 8 different colors in a design. Some small scenics were American-produced. They tended to be flat with little shading to give them a 3-D effect.
The colors on American-produced wallpaper were actually thinned-down dyes that gave it an appearance of a stain rather than bright colors -- much like a water color painting. (In fact, the job title in America was called "Paper Stainer".) Because of the limitations of how large a felt piece on the mechanical press could adequately hold the ink without gumming up or falling off, the design elements had to be quite small -- about the same area for each element (leaf, flower, etc.) than would fill the surface of a quarter.
French-produced wallpaper, however, usually had 20 or more colors and were highly detailed and realistic. Extensive shading of elements was predominant -- a single petal, for example, would bear a darker shade of red on the bottom and a lighter shade on the top side. Also, unlike American-produced, the leaves in French floral designs would usually bear numerous veins.French scenics were also highly detailed with much shading. Their scenics were primarily of the full-wall mural variety were highly intricate and look much like an old master's painting. (Although not of the era discussed in this article, in one scenic produced in 1815, the entire wall looks as if there were covered drapes of white silk with green-striped swags and gold ornaments hanging there while in reality it is block printed wallpaper.) Colors on all French wallpaper were brilliant in hue and retained the look of an oil painting.
Almost all of the French wallpaper was block printed by hand rather than mechanical press. For this reason, the French were able to produce designs with larger elements -- a single flower could be life size and thus cover an area larger than a baseball. To block print, rather than carving a design into a cylinder, as the term implies, the design was carved into a block anywhere from 8 to 12 inches square. A 20 color design, for example, would require 20 such blocks -- one for each color. To assure proper alignment from one color to another, the unprinted wallpaper bore tiny pin holes that corresponded to pins on each corner of the block.English-produced wallpaper bore floral, geometric and small scenic designs for the most part. Their colors, while not as brilliant as French, were brighter than American. The amount of detail fell midway between American and French. After the paper was finished being printed, the next step was to cut the 1500 foot roll into shorter rolls. The standard size of American-produced wallpaper was 18 inches by 8 yards; French, 18 inches by 9 yards; and English 21 inches by 12 yards in length.
According to statistics found in an article of The Furniture Gazette in 1879, stated "The people of the United States spend $8,000,000 per annum for wallpaper, their requirements being about 57,142,860 rolls or about 457,142,400 yards." The article also indicated that during this same year the retail price for wallpaper was 25 cents a roll. By these figures, it is clear that wallpaper manufacturing was a major industry in 1860's--1870's America.
The Story of Us, found on Netflix was the resource for this little bit of info. Cowboys came about around 1865 and left the scene 15 years later 1880s. After the Civil War many men use to resisting authority and disliked farming found the option of cattle driving. One out of three cowboys were Spanish or African American. Mexican ranchers taught them how to lasso.
Although visual aids have been around since the 1400's , as usual, we only want to cover any topic from the beginning of photography in the 1840s. You may need to learn eyewear terms to make it easier to discuss and research when photo dating the eyewear in your photograph.
The part that goes over the nose is called a bridge. the designs that have be created for the bridge usually named after their description like "K" or upside down "U".
Other ways to hold them on the face is to use a pinching device that pinches the bridge of the nose called "pinch nez" which just means pinched nose in French or another pinching method squeezing the lenses together to squeeze the nose bridge.
part parts that go over the ears are called temples and hinges attach them to the frame.
The lenses are to be found in variety of shapes held by frames of a variety of materials such as, wire, tortoise shell, and plastic.
1400s upside down "U"
Abe Lincoln glasses oval wire rimmed, 1865, upside down "U" bridge. adjustable arms
1890 - 1915
1890, you can tell the date of this photo by the huge mutton sleeves. She's wearing an upside down "U" bridge with oval lenses and attached to the lenses is a very thin chain that is attached to her hair by a decorative hair pin incase they should slip off.
1890 - 1915
Teddy Roosevelt 1901 1904 in office.
upside down U over the nose bridge.
Photograph taken in 1915 of James Joyce, famous author wears pinched type oval glasses.
Image Editing Consultant
Always a work in progress, please visit often. We apologist for any long periods between entries some times medical issues prevail.