Tips for dating old photographs

Vintage Photo Characteristics That Can Help You Date Old Pictures

Vintage Photo Characteristics That Can Help You Date Old Pictures

T ips for determining when a U. Thanks also to Chuck Harbert; and to Ninawhose donated postcards are used for the examples on this page. Also, "Picture postcards and the picture researchers: a personal tips for dating old photographs study," by Lewis Foreman, in The Audiovisual Librarian, Vol. Also, The Picture Postcard and Its Originsby Frank Staff N. Pioneer Era 1893-1898 Although the world's first picture postcards date tips for dating old photographs the 1860s to the mid-1870s, most of the earliest American picture postcards extant today are those that were sold at the World Columbian Exposition in Chicago, Illinois, starting on May 1, 1893.

These were illustrations on government-printed postal cards and on privately printed souvenir cards. The government postal cards included a printed 1-cent stamp; the privately printed souvenir cards required a tips for dating old photographs adhesive postage stamp to be attached.

Messages were not permitted on the address side of the cards; after attempting various forms of explaining that regulation, the U. Private Mailing Card Era 1898-1901 An Act of U. The required postage was a 1-cent adhesive stamp. At this time, a dozen or more American printers began to take postcards seriously.

Still, no message was permitted on the address side. Post Card Era - Undivided Back 1901-1907 New U. Writing was still not permitted on the address side. In this era, private citizens began to take black and white photographs and have them printed on paper with post card backs. If no message was permitted on the address side, tips for dating old photographs card probably pre-dated March of 1907.

Photo Postcards 1900-ongoing Postcards that are actual photographic replications were first produced around 1900. They may or may not have a white border, or a divided back, or other features of postcards, depending on the tips for dating old photographs the photographer used. Many of the real photo postcards being done at the current time are reproductions of earlier historic photos. The easiest way to distinguish a real photo postcard is to look at it under a magnifying glass; it will show smooth transitions from one tone to another.

Early Divided Back Era 1907-1914 Postcards with a divided back were permitted in the U. Britain had already pioneered this in 1902. The address was to be written on the right side; the left side was for writing messages.

Many millions of cards were published in this era -- it was the golden age of postcards. Up to this point, most postcards were printed in Germany, which was far ahead of the United States in the use of lithographic processes. With the advent of World War I, the supply of postcards for American consumption switched from Germany to England and the United States itself. White Border Era 1915-1930 Most United States postcards were printed during this period.

The relatively high cost of labor, along with inexperience and changes in public taste, resulted in the production of poor quality cards during this period. Furthermore, strong competition in a narrowing market caused many publishers to go out of business. Linen Era 1930-1945 New printing processes allowed printing on post cards with high rag content that caused a -like finish.

These cheap cards allowed the use of gaudy dyes for coloring. The firm of Curt Teich flourished because of its line of linen postcards. Many important events and scenes in history are documented only by these cards. Three-dimensional postcards also appeared in this era. By 1960s, the standard of cards had grown to 4 x 6 inches. Photochromes are not real photos but rather, printed cards done by a photochrome process.

To distinguish a printed postcard from a real photo postcard, examine it under a magnifying glass and you will see the dot pattern that is characteristic of printed cards. They are difficult to discern from real photos but usually don't have the glossy finish of photographs.

The Laura Gilpin cards of Mesa Verde and Silverton are excellent examples of the photogravure process. The following table comes from Historical statistics of the United States: colonial times to 1970, and Statistical abstract. When World War I ended at the end of 1918, the rate was lowered to its pre-War level of one cent. Commission Rate Board over-estimated revenue needs in 1974 and was forced to reduce postage rate in 1975.

Curt Teich tips for dating old photographs, Lake County Museum, 27277 Forest Preserve Dr. In the beginning, Teich apparently made no attempt to define when a card was printed. The company used code numbers and letters to indicate the date the card was published. The codes appear either on the scenic side or in the postage box.

The number and letter before the dash in the code stand for the date. The number indicates the last figure in the date and the letter indicates the decade. The letters and figures after the dash pertain to the printing process used and the number of issues that year. Code Years 1-29 1929 A 1930-1939 B 1940-1949 C 1950-1959 D 1960-1969 E 1970-1974 Code number 3A-H107 is therefore translated to be printed in the year 1933.

The "H" refers to the printing method called Art Colortone. For more information, visit the. The Archives is part of the part of the Lake County Discovery Museum, in Wauconda, Illinois.

The Detroit Publishing Company began numbering its cards with Number 1. Some of these same cards were later reproduced in the 5000 series. Detroit postcards are easy to manage by the number, regardless of subject. What style of clothes are the people wearing? Look at the modes of transportation. What model of vehicles? What clues can be drawn from the style of interior decorations, appliances, and furnishings? Have the buildings been modified since the time of this view? Look for other time-related details.

For example, how many stars are in the U. Do the buildings have window air conditioners? Is a wall calendar in the picture? If we know a day of the week, the perpetual calendar at may be useful for figuring out the year. A history timeline such as at may be useful, too. As Allmer notes p. Ø If the card is old and is larger than 3. Ø If the card is old and is slightly smaller than 3. Ø If the card measures 3.

Allmer also suggests p. Ø If the card has a flat-textured surface and is printed with a limited range of low-contrast inks, it was probably made before 1930.

Ø If it has a linen-textured surface and is printed with sharply contrasting bright inks, it is likely from the period 1930-1960. Ø If the card has a shiny surface and is printed in color using a halftone process little dots of magenta, cyan, yellow and blackit was probably made no earlier than 1939. Allmer notes page 19 that "postcards created directly from photographic negatives and printed onto photographic paper are difficult to date when they have not been postally used.

Godine, 1981 and "Dating Post-1920 Real Photo Postcards," by Ernest G. Covington, in Postcard Collector, July 1986, pages 26-28. Does it list a phone number with area code? The first unassisted coast-to-coast direct dialing with a three-digit area code began on November 10, 1951. Other clues on the back of a postcard: postcard stamp boxes: Real photo postcard stamp backs: Page revised: August 07, 2006.

How to date old family photos?

Clues To Dating Old Photographs 1 Clothing and Accessories. When we look at our old family photos one of the first things that is brought to our attention is the clothing. 2 Hairstyles. Similar to the clothing that our ancestors wore we are also drawn to their hair and how it was worn. 3 Background. ... 4 Type of Photograph and Studio. ...

How To Date Photographs

How can I find out how old a photo is?

Depending on the type of photograph, the sorts of clues that may be available include: Try the following approach: If your photograph is a carte de visite or a cabinet card (i.e. 1860 – 1910 only) – use our DIY dating wizard – it is UNIQUE and FUN and is available ONLY on this website.

Should you ask your relatives for help with old family photos?

But if your old photos are still a headache for you then why not ask your relatives for help. They may be able to help you, and who knows they may even provide you with more photos for your research. Old family photographs are a great way to get the younger generation interested in family history.

How can daguerreotype photos help you find your family tree?

If you know the time period a photograph was taken, you can narrow down possible candidates on your family tree. Daguerreotypes are typically small with the most common size being 2 3/4 x 3 1/2 inches and housed in a case. The photographic process makes the photographs appear to float.

How To Date Photographs

Is it possible to date old family photos?

Many family historians have a collection of unidentified old family photos they’re not sure what to do with–but can’t bear to throw out. In this article, we’ll share tips for helping you accurately date old family photos. Photographs are one of the treasures of genealogy.

How can I date photos?

Use costume history to date photos. Learn tips and hints and examples to help you to achieve a date within 5 years either way of the photo ‘s original date. This will make your genealogy research so much more meaningful to you and your family. Learn by example how to use your own detective skills to examine your photo in detail.

How can I find out when a family photo was taken?

Look for the family house or other family possessions in other photos for which you do have names and dates. You can also use household items, cars, street signs and other background items to help determine the approximate date a photograph was taken.

What to do with your old family photos?

If you have living family members with a possible connection to the photograph, don’t forget to ask for their input. Sitting down with somebody and giving them time to reminisce over a photograph may be the most fruitful thing you can do.

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