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The manufacturing of a tintype is identical to that of Ambrotypes only the support differs, iron plate replacing the fragile glass plate. A thin plate of tin about 0.15 mm thick is covered with a black varnish consisting of bitumen of Judea and carbon black, and insolubilized by light. It is then coated with collodion sensitized in a solution of silver nitrate. Afterexposure, the plate is developed and rinsed with water as soon as the image appears. The image is finally fixed, rinsed, and sometimes hand colored with light color pigments, before being varnished. In the twentieth century, the collodion layer was replaced by a gelatin-silver bromide emulsion.

Tintypes can be presented in paper mounts with rectangular or oval window mats to be slided conveniently into book-like albums, or more rarely protected in american cases, under glass. This type of presentation, commonly associated with daguerreotypes and ambrotypes, sometimes make them difficult to identify.When ferrotypes are not protected, they are recognizable by their metal support and alterations to its features such as deformation of the metal, or the appearance of rust between the support and the image, which can cause uprisings and scales.

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