This section is from the book "Complete Self-Instructing Library Of Practical Photography", by J. B. Schriever. Also available from Amazon: Complete Self-Instructing Library Of Practical Photography.
Ferrotype Process (Tintype). While the making of ferrotypes, commonly called tintypes, is almost a thing of the past, the process is still employed at summer resorts, fairs, and even in many cities. A capable and careful worker may produce results which, while they are not to be compared with the modern processes of photography, are at least superior to the results obtained generally with the process in the hands of an unskilled or careless worker. Lighting, posing and composition can always make themselves felt. The photographer who is painstaking in all departments, in the proper preparing of his collodion silver bath, his developer, and even the cleaning of his ferrotype plates, will produce results that will have commercial value and that will be sought after.
996. The tintype is simply a collodion positive upon a dark enameled plate, called a ferrotype plate. The image appears reversed as regards left and right. The process is practically the same as that employed in the making of collodion wet plates, save that metal plates are used in place of glass, and that it is a positive and not a negative. White will appear white on the plate, and black will be black. The coating of the plate, the developing, fixing, intensifying, washing, drying and varnishing are practically the same as with a wet plate negative.
Apparatus And Material - The Camera. The apparatus for tintype work usually consists of a 5 x 7 camera, a small three-legged camera stand, and a set of Gem lenses, either four quarter-size tubes or eight one-eighth-size tubes, the former being the most universally used.
998. The camera is fitted with divisions, separating the four pictures on the plate. A special wet-plate holder is also provided. With this same camera cabinet size pictures can be made, also postal photographs. When used for either of the latter purposes the division is taken out and the Gem lenses are replaced with a portrait lens.
999. For regular studio work, where an outfit for portraits and groups, also tintypes, is desired, then an 8 x 10 portrait camera may be employed with a Gem attachment for making tintypes. Catalogs illustrating these outfits can be secured from any large dealer in photo supplies.
1000. The regular tintype camera has a distinct advantage over the ordinary portrait camera, inasmuch as it is more compact. The plate-holder is supplied with silver wires for the plates to rest upon, and a gutter or glass trough at the bottom to catch the drippings from the plate. If the ordinary plate-holder is used, apply paraffine to the part on which the plate is placed. Blotting paper may also be placed both on the back of the plate and on the bottom of the plate-holder.
Camera Stands. A good, solid stand should be employed, as the exposures necessary will be of considerable length and there should be no danger of the camera jarring.