I have an old glass positive photo from about 1850. Does anyone know what process was used? Heliotipy? Puharotipy?


I'm think that the author of the image is Puhar

I have an appointment with the Jozef Stefan Institute in Ljubljana, to analyze the material on the photo.

I look forward to your comments

Regards from Maribor/ Slovenia Bojanenter image description here

  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm confused - it seems like you asked the question and then proceeded to describe the process you asked about. \$\endgroup\$
    – rfusca
    Commented Apr 22, 2014 at 20:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ think that this process, but there are not many experts who could confirm that this is the procedure. I am looking for someone who specializes in such matters \$\endgroup\$
    – Bojc
    Commented Apr 22, 2014 at 21:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ Most of this text seems to be directly plagiarized from puhar.si/?J=203000001 \$\endgroup\$
    – mattdm
    Commented Apr 23, 2014 at 1:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yes, I copied the text of that page to one of you experts could confirm if this procedure is likely Puhars. If yes, this i s a unique exemplar. \$\endgroup\$
    – Bojc
    Commented Apr 23, 2014 at 17:32
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ I never saw any of these on my own eyes (I think), but according to this it could be Puhar's process: puhar.si/?J=203000001 \$\endgroup\$
    – MirekE
    Commented Jul 11, 2016 at 5:30

2 Answers 2


It is hard to say without holding it in your hand, but it looks like a tintype; one that has not aged well.

  • \$\begingroup\$ The OP said it was a glass plate, not a tin plate. \$\endgroup\$
    – scottbb
    Commented Jul 11, 2016 at 5:50
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ I understand that you said it was made with glass plate. But if it is not ON glass or paper...which that photograph does not appear to be...it was likely not made on glass. Particularly if it were made in 1850. That was the very beginning of glass plate. The stated time is right for most of Puchar's glass. But the images you took makes it look like it is printed on some kind of metal substrate. Higher quality images would help.And in the future if you make sloppy posts, ask for help and then vote people down because your image is bad; that is pretty uncool. \$\endgroup\$
    – bethanyP
    Commented Jul 11, 2016 at 6:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ That photograph most definitely appears to be on glass. In both photos, the glass plate is held in front of a light source (looks like a ceiling light). You can see the shadow of the hand holding the glass plate in the first photo, the shadow coming from behind the plate. Re: 1850, the link that mattdm and MirekE both posted (puhar.si/?J=203000001) describes articles about the process used by Puhar, written in 1843 and 1851. \$\endgroup\$
    – scottbb
    Commented Jul 13, 2016 at 13:36
  • \$\begingroup\$ "And in the future if you make sloppy posts, ask for help and then vote people down because your image is bad; that is pretty uncool." I couldn't figure out what this meant, but it just hit me: I am not the original poster (OP). The OP didn't vote you down — I did. The OP said it was glass, you say it looks like tin. But that still doesn't answer the question, "what process was used to make this glass plate?" I voted down because, per the hover-over text on the downvote button, "This answer is not useful". \$\endgroup\$
    – scottbb
    Commented Jul 13, 2016 at 13:41
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Having seen a ton of archaic originals, held them and worked in alternative processes, from this photograph, it does not appear to be on a glass plate. That time frame (if it is accurate which is hard to tell if you just find a plate without historical context) it would be a very early glass plate image and I do not know of a way that folks were printing from glass to metal at the time. I understand that people often describe what they think they have, but it is not uncommon for people to be wrong, particularly when they are asking you what they have.... \$\endgroup\$
    – bethanyP
    Commented Jul 13, 2016 at 13:56

If it's from 1850's on glass it's most likely collodion (wet) process, see Wikipedia. This was later displaced by various dry plate processes, e.g. Daguerreotype.

There are still enthusiasts shooting using this process and the results are beautiful.

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ The article says that the collodion process replaced daguerreotypes, not the other way 'round... \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 10, 2016 at 19:59
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks, correction taken. Daguerreotype was indeed replaced by collodion. The dating however is consistent with collodion. In decades following it was replaced by dry plate gelatin process (not Daguerreotype as you rightly point out). \$\endgroup\$
    – marangisto
    Commented Aug 11, 2016 at 16:05
  • \$\begingroup\$ There was also a dry collodion process that came along about the same time as gelatin dry plate. Gelatin won because it was both faster (more sensitive) and safer (nothing flammable, either in use or in manufacture). \$\endgroup\$
    – Zeiss Ikon
    Commented Mar 18, 2020 at 17:11

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.