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  Melainotype Photograph of Couple

C. 1860 , this is an early tintype photography using the Melainotype process, were "melaino" means dark or black. The Tintype process was invented in 1852 by a Frenchman Adolphe Alexander Martin. The Melainotype process was developed in America in 1854 by Hamilton Smith, a chemistry professor at Kenyon college in Ohio and then sold the patent rights to Peter Neff Jr., one of Smith's students. The melainotype process was patented on 19 february 1856. The use of an iron plate instead of glass greatly reduced the cost of the photograph.

The two plates shown are stamped on the top :


The melainotype process was basicly a variation of the Ambrotype process invented by Frederick Scott Archer in 1851, but applied to an iron plate that was first painted with black japan varnish, then coated with collodian, sensitized, exposed, and then fixed permanent. The Melainotype photos used a thicker iron plate, than that of more modern tintypes. The quality is also typically better than more modern tintypes.

Neff had a rival Victor Griswold, who was a fellow student at Kenyon college and opened a competing company in lancaster, Ohio. Griswold employed a similar method. He patented this process in the USA under the name tintype and in Great Britain it was called the ferrotype process, which is derived from "ferro" meaning iron. Eventually Ferrotypes won out over melainotypes and the American name tintypes was the final recognized name for this process.

Click Here for a Biography of Peter Neff.

# 209
2019-07-20 19:15:58

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