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Women in Surrey
(c) Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield MA. All rights reserved.
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On a sunny summer afternoon, three women sit in a surrey dressed for town or visiting. Their patient horse stands quietly. This photograph is a ferrotype, popularly known as a tintype. In tintypes, light-sensitive material is spread on a metal surface instead of glass. Ferrotypes were discovered in the 1850s and were widespread in the decades before good photograph paper became cheap and plentiful, the 1890s. They were one-of-a-kind images without a negative: the image was cast directly on the surface. Tintypes became popular among traveling and resort photographers because they were much lighter in weight than glass and were relatively cheap. This image was probably taken by a traveling photographer. The household may have heard he was in town, or he may have stopped by. The women of the household got dressed in their best clothes and had the carriage readied for a picture that projected their best image.
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