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Although prints on paper soon displaced them as the most common type of photograph, the tintype process continued to enjoy considerable use throughout the 19th century and beyond, especially for casual portraiture by novelty and street photographers.John Coffer, a featured photographer in the New York Times, travels by horse-drawn wagon creating tintypes.This ability to employ underexposed images allowed shorter exposure times to be used, a great advantage in portraiture.To obtain as light-toned an image as possible, potassium cyanide, a very dangerous and powerful deadly poison, was normally employed as the photographic fixer.One or more hardy, lightweight, thin tintypes could be carried conveniently in a jacket pocket.

Its densest areas, corresponding to the lightest parts of the subject, appeared gray by reflected light.The ambrotype was the first use of the wet-plate collodion process as a positive image.Such collodion glass positives had been invented by Frederick Scott Archer in 1851 and the name Ambrotype was introduced in the United States by James Ambrose Cutting in 1854 when he patented a variation of Archer's original process.The areas with the least amount of silver, corresponding to the darkest areas of the subject, were essentially transparent and appeared black when seen against the dark background provided by the lacquer.The image as a whole therefore appeared to be a dull-toned positive.

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