Dating old family photographs

Invented in the 1850s, hyalotypes were used in “Magic Lanterns” where their positive images on glass plates were projected onto screens.

They were widely popular until modern slides came along in the 1950s.

All you have to do to unlock these stories is to know how to identify and interpret the photos. This is the most important step in identifying and interpreting old family photographs.

If you don’t know the time period in which the photo was taken, you won’t have much luck determining who is in the photo, or anything personal about them.

Photographers would coat a thin sheet of paper with egg white which would hold light-sensitive silver salt on the surface of the paper, preventing image fading.

Once it was dry, albumen prints were used just like salted-paper prints and the image would form by the darkening properties of the sun on the chemicals.

In 1854, the ambrotype became a popular photographic print method which used the wet-plate collodion process to create a positive photograph on glass.Here’s a quick chart to help you remember some of these dates.Have you come across any of these popular vintage photo types during your research? Now that you’re equipped with vintage photo knowledge, you may be able to add those previously unknown ancestors and their stories to your Crestleaf Family Tree!What might you discover with access to billions of new genealogy records?My Heritage is offering 2 full weeks of free access so you can search for your ancestors - including instant record matches when you upload your family tree.

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