Working class couple. 1/6th plate tintype. Private Collection.
He has long, slender and tanned hands, and these look like working ones too, almost as if they should belong to someone older than him. This could be my imagination but the top of his head looks lighter, as if he worked outdoors a lot but wore a large brim hat. The young woman by his side I can only assume is his wife is resting her hand on his arm, and her white (cotton?) top is interesting; simple but nice, wrapping down over her skirt. It was accessorised with a pearl necklace, leaf brooch and belt. All this makes me think this was taken in the summertime.
He’s wearing a type of necktie/scarf popular of the 1870s-80s.
Finding pictures like this really makes my day. All 13 of these bridge workers are on both RPPCs. I played a game of who’s who and recognized 8 of them for sure.
On the second, two more men in suits are with them, perhaps supervisors. On that one I’m not sure what the workers are sitting on, but it looks like a pressurized machine with some kind of belt.
I find it fascinating to see the faces of those who built those bridges we still cross today; ‘floppy hats and blue collars’ (and Carnegie steel). If by extreme luck I find out what bridge this is I will update this post. It may have been built to let a railroad pass through.
RPPC: AZO triangles. 1904-1918. Private collection.