Ways of Dating Old Photos

Most people have come across very old photos, but they have no idea how old they are, or when they were taken. Fortunately, it has become easy to find the age of the photographs, thanks to different dating methods.

One of the easiest ways to determine the date of the photo is checking out the costumes and jewelry worn by the people in the photo.  The owners will need to check the different types of clothes and hats, and with the help of costume history, they will easily find when the photo was taken. With this, they will also know the circumstances surrounding it, such as weddings, funerals and others. Apart from the costumes and jewelry, the users can also check out the background of the photo, as this may also provide an indication of the date the photo was taken.

While this method can be used for a number of photos, there are some photos such as portraits with shoulder and head only that cannot be easily dated in this manner. In such a case, it is imperative that you check out the photographic technique used, as this is one of the most accurate methods to date old photos.

Some of the photographs taken between 1839 and 1870, using the Daguerreotype technique, comes with a case that resembles a double frame, and are usually very decorative. The first photos on paper were taken between 1845 and 1855 using Calotype technique but they were not that popular because of the fading. Ambrotype is the method used from 1845 to the end of the civil war and came with color. The Tintype photo were taken from 1846 to the World War II, and was popular with the soldiers.

The cabinet cards photos were taken beginning 1866 and came with different designs and colors, borders with various decorations, and corners with or without scalloped sides.  The stenograph is another photographic method that was used between 1849 and 1925, and the photos came with slightly curved mounts.  The photos that come with uneven coating were taken using the Wet Plate print between 1853 and 1902.

Apart from using the photographic techniques, individuals can also use the revenue stamps as tools to date old photos.  In 1864, sellers were required to affix stamps on photographs at the time of sale, as a part of the Congress’ effort to fund the Civil War. The stamps were used between August 1 1864 to August 1 1866, with the blue playing card stamps used in summer of 1866 because the other stamps were unavailable and it was the end of the levy.

When it comes to the material of the photos, those made from paper and cardboard can be photo postcard, a cabinet card, a non-standard studio portrait or Carte-de-visite. Metal photos can be Tin-type or Daguerreotype in a case, and glass ones can be a glass plate negative or ambrotype in a case. In case the photographs are in an album, the ones in bible-type with covers made of cloth or leather are for the 19th century and the book types with colored pages and stuck-in photos are for the 20th century.