This chapter lists
other kinds of 'hard' photographs. The collector will come across
a fair number glass negatives, slides, and orotones, while the
others rare. The photographs are presented in alphabetical order.
Quick keys to identification: True color image on a
pane of glass. Early 1900s subjects.
The autochrome was the first true color photograph, with the
image on a pane of glass. If you project the image large or look
very closely you can see a mosaic pattern of multi color grains.
Sports examples are rare and highly desirable.
Autochrome was introduced in 1907 and existed, with closely
related glass color photos, until the 1930s. The image can be
lush and beautiful, though usually darker than today's color
photos. The images are often faded. There were different brands
of color glass photos that existed around the same time. The
different brand names will have the same general appearance,
age and scarcity, though the tiny color grains in the image are
in different patterns.
Magnified of autochrome view showing the color
grains of an autochrome
* * * * *
Quick identification Keys: negative black qand white
image on glass. Used 1800s to early 1900s.
Almost all early negatives used to make photographic prints were
glass. Glass negatives were slowly discontinued around the 1930s.
In modern times photographic negatives are made out of plastic
film, easily distinguishable from glass. If you find a glass
negative with an old time image, it almost always is antique.
They quit using glass a long time ago.
Due to the physical appearance and feel it is not difficult
to differentiate the later glass negatives from the early ones.
The later negatives (say 1920s) are thinner, machine cut and
with a smooth surface. The early glass negatives (say 1860s-70s)
are thicker, hand cut and have a rougher surface.
Quick keys to identification: 1800s photograph on fake ivory,
hand colored and framed to look like a small painting.
The ivorytype was a photographic image made on fake ivory
and typically framed. It usually was hand painted to have the
appearance of a miniature painting. It was invented in London
in 1855 and was most popular in the mid to late 1800s century.
* * * *
MAGIC LANTERN & GLASS SLIDES
Key to identification: Early slides made out of glass.
Used in 1800s and early 1900s.
Originating in the late 1800s glass photographic slides are
like modern vacation slides, except the image is on a pane of
glass instead of plastic film. The glass is held in a frame usually
made of cardboard. The images were projected onto a screen or
wall. The black and white photographic images are sometimes brightly
hand colored. During the silent movie era, colorful movie slides
were used in the theatres to advertise products including upcoming
movies (see above). Slide images were projected on the screen
for group sing alongs intermissions.
Some news services owned glass slides. Glass slides are easy
to identify as antique, as only old photographic slides were
made of glass.
1930s glass slide of boxer Jack Dempsey
* * * * *
Quick key to identification: Glass photograph with
distinct gold tone.
Popular in the 1800s and early 1900s, the orotone- also known
as goldtone and Curtistone- is similar in appearance to the ambrotype,
with the image on a pane of glass. The eye catching difference
is that the orotone is backed in real gold. Oro is Spanish for
gold. This gives the image a unique and often beautiful golden
appearance. Some collectors rank orotones as the most beautiful
photograph. Orotones can be much larger than the ambrotype and
are usually housed in special frames or cases. The back of the
frame will often have a paper seal with the photographer's information.
Orotones in general are limited but not rare.
* * * * *
There are examples of other, even more obscure 'hard' photographs.
This includes images on steel, wood, cloth and leather. Most
of these are from the 1800s and are rarely seen.
(c) david rudd cycleback, cyclback.com
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