Once In A Lifetime

Once In A Lifetime

This is the second edition of “The Archives”, a blog series intended to give an inside look into the complicated past of pit bull dogs through photographs, newspaper articles and other historical artifacts pertaining to this controversial debate. 

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The Archives | 1870s Pit Bull Dog and Gentleman

The oldest item in my collection is this photograph of a gentleman smoking a pipe with a (pit) bull dog laying at his feet. It was taken post-Civil War, sometime around 1870 (circa).

Pit Bull Dog and Gentleman | 1870s Tintype Photograph
click to zoom

Since the term “pit bull” technically didn’t really make its way into our vocabularies until after the turn of the century, the dog in this photograph was more than likely called simply – a bull dog. Or, a bull-and-terrier.

I unfortunately do not know any details about the gentleman or his dog…or the photographer who took the picture, as there is nothing written anywhere on the image. To me – the significance of this piece of history is the type of photograph itself and how long ago it was taken.

It’s called a Tintype, which were a popular type of photograph in the 1860s through 1870s. The invention of the tintype allowed photographer to speed up the development process of an image, to the point where a client could get a hardcopy back within 10-15 minutes of it taken.

I think this best explains an element of what this blog series is supposed to do. Even though I do not know who the man and dog are in the photograph, doing this exercise kind of brings them back to life again, so they aren’t forgotten about.

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