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Ambrotypes and Tintypes
The invention of wet collodion photography processes in the 1850s allowed the development of two new kinds of photographs--ambrotypes and tintypes. These new formats shared many characteristics with the earlier daguerreotypes but were quicker and cheaper to produce. Primarily used for portraiture, each photo is a unique camera-exposed image and was available in the following standard-sizes. The most common size was the sixth plate.
Belt buckles and hats can provide information about soldiers' regiments. Note that the letters on the hats and belt buckles are usually reversed. Since ambrotypes and tintypes are direct positives, they often produce laterally reversed images.
Rufus Anson, photographer. [Unidentified soldier in Union Zouave shell jacket with kepi] Most of the ambrotypes and tintypes in the Liljenquist collection are by anonymous photographers. Unsigned photographs were typical during this time period. For a list of identified photographers, casemakers, and related names, see Contributor index.