These two tintype photos share the same scrolled border as our last photo of the middle aged woman, and for that reason I suspect they were made by the same photographer, and are family. I can’t decide of they are married or siblings, however. What is your opinion?
Here are the backmarks of these two photos. T. M. Saurman at the corner of Main & Green Streets in Norristown, PA was a young photographer in 1870, just 23.
Thomas M. Saurman was a busy man! Born in about 1846, in 1860 he was living with his mother and family in Norristown, PA. One of the people living in the home was Frederick Spane, a painter, and someone who’s name comes up as an artist & photographer in the Norristown area. It is possible Saurman learned his trade from Spane or was inspired by him.
In 1870, Saurman was married to Eliza Davis (married in 1867) and they had a child Mary V born about 1870, as well as Eliza’s brother Charles Davis living with them.
The 1880 census is a bit sparse on information, showing Thomas living with his mother Catherine, along with his brother Othenel, aged 26, and they are both photographers. Also listed is Mary, age 17 and daughter in law to Catherine, as well as James, a 7 month old, listed as son of the head of household, which was Catherine. Maybe he was actually Mary’s child. It’s difficult to sort.
Finally, the 1900 census shows Thomas at age 55 still a photographer, his wife Eliza at age 53, daughters Mary age 30, Edith age 26, Norma age 15 and Mable age 12. Son Louis age 24 was a photographer and James age 22 was a druggist.
Here’s some more of the fun stuff. Thomas Saurman was awarded three patents. First was a print cutting apparatus in 1872. Next was a method to improve the drying of photographic plates in 1874. Finally was an improvement to a tobacco smoking pipe in 1902. Further, his son James was in the news for his pharmacology work.
Next time, another Saurman photo with a different card that will have you saying “awww.”