Saturday, November 30, 2013

Sepia Saturday - Moustache

LOST GALLERY has thousands of old photographs. They are grouped by content or subject for easy comparison. Many of the photographs are decades old.

As you probably know already, the moustache was common among gentlemen of yesteryear. From Pencil-Thin to Handlebar, most men cultivated some sort of whiskers on their upper lip. There were no safety razors or electric razors a hundred years ago. Maybe it was vanity, or maybe it was a male ego thing or even an attempt at being stylish. Maybe it was inconvenient to shave under the nose with an ultra sharp straight razor.

In actuality it was more than a bit inconvenient. They had to groom it daily sometimes with moustache wax and use a moustache cup for their coffee. And let me tell you it was no boon during a head cold.

Let's examine a few. There are many portraits of men with a moustache in LOST GALLERY. Let's deal with the moustache only, no beards or muttonchops or goatees or chin curtains. No side-whiskers or neck beards or Shenandoahs.

Also let's look only at cabinet cards, CDVs and tintypes; no snapshots. We can be fairly sure that all of these are more than a century old.


Let's start with this CDV (enlarged here).

It's difficult to select a favorite on a this subject, but this one is certainly is the most treasured.

It's the very first CDV to hang in

First some of the tintypes.

Tintype  Man with coat
Man with Striped Tie
Man seated

Cabinet Card - Man with mustache
George S. Clark, Pelham, Ala
I'm not sure if this guy has a beard or not.
The original is very faded and the dark area around his neck may just be a result of the extensive enhancement it had to endure.
Cabinet Card man

CDV man and round table
Man and a silk hat
CDV Man with moustache
CDV man
cdv man
Seated Man

Here's a real Western Gunfighter sort of moustache..

Cabinet Card man with moustache

Cabinet Card Man
Mustache man
Cabinet Card man

Cabinet Card man with bow tie enhanced
Cabinet Card man with tie

Cabinet Card portrait
Cabinet Card

I think I might have an idea why this fellow was growing a moustache...

Man with tie and vest
Bald man with moustache
Man with moustache

Man with bow tie, moustache

Cabinet Card man

So, wax on back to the
SEPIA SATURDAY home page and see what else you can find right under your nose.

The most popular photographs most popular, Family Group, An album of the most requested photographs in the Lost Gallery.

Area 51 and a Half Area 51 and a Half You are probably not authorized to see these.

Don't take my picture! Oh! You DID didn't you! completely unaware of the photographer This is a collection of photographs that disappear on the way home from the photo processing shop.

And don't miss
Cabinet Card Gallery
One Man's Treasure
Penny Tales
Square America
Tattered and Lost
Vernacular Photography
The best
sites on the web.

And for postcards try

All images are the property of Lost Gallery and the author. Permission must be granted for their use. All rights reserved.

THE KIDS Lesson one. It is always a mystery how a photograph of any of these precious children could end up lost or abandoned. Here are a few. You will probably say "Ooh..." at least once.

Dee and the Business School Dee and the Business School
The beautiful Dee. A curious story; What do you see?

Neiffel and Helvetica Typehigh

"What are they doing?"


  1. Wow! That's a lotta moustaches! When I see old photos like that, I can't help but wonder what sort of people they were. Too bad they weren't allowed to smile in photographs back then or it might be possible to gain at least a hint about their personality. Oh well.

    1. Thanks Gil Perlee. I have heard an old theory that suggests that photographers would try to remedy the slow film and lens by admonishing his subjects to hold very still. The photographer would say something like, "Hold your lips very still and don't move your eyes." This often prompted the subject into a wide-eyed stare and clenched teeth. The resulting photograph would be of a rather stern looking person without a bit of humor. You might also want to check the Flickr group called "The Smiling Victorian" which features many examples of people who actually smiled at least slightly in these early photo sessions.

  2. A splendid assortment of mustache styles. I think the one uncertain photo does have a beard though, (and he is also wearing spectacles.) The vicar from Hull has a very grim brush. Could the gent from Harrisburg with the boutonniere also be a man of the cloth? Being a barber in the 19th century certainly seems like it was a good business model. My own beard is now nearly 2/3-rds my age and I never let my barber mess with it as I prefer the wild and fuzzy look that requires little maintenance.

    1. Thanks Mike Brubaker. I agree, he does seem to have a beard. The original is so faded it is nearly just a yellow card. In later years of collecting old photograph, I began keeping a copy of the original scan plus the enhanced version so I could demonstrate how far it had to be stretched. And yes, the barber shop of the 19th century was an important place held in high regard by everyone. My beard also leans more toward Gabby Hayes than Monty Woolley.



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