From the Industrial Revolution to World War I, C. 1850–1914

Early Photography

What is a daguerreotype?

A daguerreotype is the earliest form of photograph, invented by the French painter, Louis-Jacques-Mande Daguerre (1787–1851). In the 1830s, J.N. Niepce had experimented with iodine fumes, and others experimented with additional photosensitive chemicals in an attempt to make a high quality image. Daguerre later used a silver iodide covered copper plate and mercury fumes to make a single fixed image. The invention was considered a huge boon for France and it revolutionized the way history could be recorded. Daguerreotypes became very popular for portraits, but by the latter half of the nineteenth century, photography techniques that allowed for multiple prints instead of a single image, replaced the daguerreotype.


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