Who Were They?

Lost and forgotten photos from the past

A serious young man sits for his tintype. I’d guess his age to be between 12-15 as he still has that round baby-face of youth. He is wearing a necktie on his starched (probably celluloid) collar. I believe this style collar and cuffs became available in the 1880s or 1890s. The celluloid versions were used by the general populace while the wealthy used actual fabric that had been starched. I just learned recently that these celluloid collars and cuffs were made from cotton that had been mixed with various chemicals. It was virtually waterproof, but also highly flammable due to the chemicals used. Celluloid was used in many clothing items and contributed to fire injuries and deaths while it was in use. An anecdote I heard recently told the story of a woman who had celluloid in her skirt (possibly as a baleyuse?). She didn’t notice that a man’s cigar had rolled under her skirt and started the fabric smoldering. Noticing the smoke, she ran outside, but the influx of oxygen allowed the smoldering fabric to fully engulf and she was terribly burned.

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