Tintype portrait of two children, c 1880.
© National Media Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
A hand-coloured tintype photograph of a young boy and girl, taken by an unknown photographer in about 1880 The Tintype (or ferrotype) process was a variation of the collodion positive, with the difference that a thin piece of iron coated with black enamel was used in place of glass. Tintypes were very cheap and could be produced in a matter of minutes. Lighter, cheaper and less fragile than glass, tintypes soon replaced collodion positives as the favourite 'instant' process used by itinerant photographers. Introduced in Britain in the 1870s, they were still being made as late as the 1930s.