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Random, Off-Topic Stub[edit]

The bottom of the Daguerreotype page has an anecdotal remark about a book of MLB stats published under the same name. I don't think it belongs there, and that a disambiguation page should be created to resolve the issue. Bryteline (talk) 21:04, 13 May 2008 (UTC)

Deleted. No reason for that section to be here. AnimalExtender (talk) 11:27, 10 January 2009 (UTC)


The article Daguerreobase should definitely be incorporated into the Daguerreotype article. The former is a ramification of the more fundamental latter. On its own, there's no real need for the Daguerreobase article. Pinkville 16:32, 10 November 2006 (UTC)

Creating a page with detailed intructions re: process[edit]

Could the process be taken out and made into its own article to include detailed process instructions? And then more needs to be added about the history of the Daguerreotype. The very large amount of 'External Links' to American sites should be reduced and other external links added to refer to the way the subject is considered in other parts of the world. (unsigned comment added by on 21:08, 9 March 2007)

You might want to refer to this page: Wikipedia:What Wikipedia is not
Excerpted here:
Instruction manuals. While Wikipedia has descriptions of people, places, and things, Wikipedia articles should not include instructions or advice (legal, medical, or otherwise), suggestions, or contain "how-to"s. This includes tutorials, walk-throughs, instruction manuals, video game guides, and recipes. Note that this does not apply to the Wikipedia: namespace, where "how-to"s relevant to editing Wikipedia itself are appropriate, such as Wikipedia:How to draw a diagram with Dia. If you're interested in a how-to style manual, you may want to look at our sister project Wikibooks.
I believe this issue might be liability with publishing instructions and how-to's. However, there is no problem with providing an external link to a page that does give directions.LiPollis 22:05, 9 March 2007 (UTC)

To establish a description of what a daguerreotype is, it is necessary to state the process. How else would you define it from a collodion image on a front surfaced mirror or a photomechanical reproduction printed on a silvered metal surface. The description of the process is not intended as a how to, practical instructions for that would reach into pages of description, as it is a complicated process to execute. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Casedimage (talkcontribs) 11:00, 25 November 2013 (UTC)


I cannot for the life of me understabnd why this article has been repeatedly singled out for vandalism both minor and major, but it has. If others with an interest in this artcile would keep an eye out, I'd be in your debt.LiPollis 18:13, 4 April 2007 (UTC)


How does a "positive-only process" allow "no reproduction"?
Can't one just directly image the positive onto another plate? Would a better wording for this section be something like, "requiring no reproduction"? I suppose that the positive nature of the image makes contrast adjustment a little more difficult. More explanation is necessary here or a link to an appropriate explanation on another page. Muskr 01:10, 31 May 2007 (UTC)
The Daguerreotype image is on the surface of a solid silver plate. You can't then contact print the image onto light-sensitive paper, like you could with a glass negative, because the plate is opaque. The only way to reproduce a Daguerreotype is to photograph the plate with a camera, and use the resulting negative to produce positive prints.Mytvc15 (talk) 08:02, 27 June 2009 (UTC)

Daguerreotypes were reversed images unless taken with a mirror or prism in the camera. They were sometimes copied by photographing the daguerrotypes with a camera to reverse them again so they ended up the right way round. There is no difference in using an enlarging apparatus that is simply a camera to produce a print from a negative and copying daguerrotypes using a camera. The statement that a daguerreotype cannot be reproduced or copied is nonsense - and as the tintpe not being able to be copied because that was a positive produced in the camera is not true either. Kodachrome and Ektachrome are positives produced in the camera and they are copied (duplicated) by rephotographing them. Sorry, I cannot access the text to edit it. RPSM (talk) 19:49, 30 September 2009 (UTC)

Copy daguerreotypes were and can be made but there is a noticeable drop in image quality when not taken from nature. The inferior quality made them a lesser commercial option in the 19th century and even today they are readily recognisable to daguerreotype dealers , collectors and contemporary daguerreotypists — Preceding unsigned comment added by Casedimage (talkcontribs) 09:32, 25 November 2013 (UTC)

Louis J.M. Daguerre[edit]

Was he a chemist? That's news to me. Even his wiki-page states he had no scientific background, and makes no mention of being a chemist. I think its a stretch to call him a chemist based on this discovery/refinement alone.... 17:30, 10 January 2008 (UTC)Surfbruddah

External links[edit]

Per the policy WP:NOT, please do not add private commercial sales sites to the links. Wikipedia is not a business directory. DurovaCharge! 20:01, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
You removal of the link is baffling to me, it is a non profit community website for contemporary makers of the daguerreotype of which there are only 65 in the world, much less if you only count the mercurial process. It couldn't be more relevant to this page, it contains many resources which specifically relate to the daguerreortpe process, rather than a social history of photography.

Relevant policy clauses:

Durova298 15:20, 11 August 2009 (UTC)


This seems a bit odd: " anonymous buyer paid 588,613 euros (792,000 USD) for an original 1839 camera made by Susse Frères (Susse brothers), Paris, at an auction in Vienna"

Even if we assume the oddness of the first figure is due to some kind of comission on top of the sale price, this doesn't make sense - it's very improbable it'd give a round figure in dollars at the end of it. The auction house itself quotes 576,000 including premium; the exchange rate in late May 2007 was around 1.345, which would make 576,000 EUR into ~775,000 USD.

I suspect the larger figure is a garbling by the Associated Press, who state "588,613 euros (792,000 dollars)" - my guess is that they got a bit confused doing the conversion into dollars, and ended up with the wrong "round" value, but I'm not sure how they inflated the price by about 2%. Since it seems safest to go with the information closest to source, I'm going to replace the figure in the article with the auctioneer's one - I just wanted to explain the working here, since the sources seem to support both! Shimgray | talk | 12:40, 19 July 2009 (UTC)

"The daguerreotype, along with the Tintype and Kodachrome ..."[edit]

"The daguerreotype, along with the Tintype, is a photographic image allowing no direct transfer of the image onto another light-sensitive medium, as opposed to glass plate or paper negatives."

along with Kodachrome Technicolor film and other postives produced in the camera (black and white reversal material)

No need to think that the neg-pos process is "normal" and the others "odd" RPSM (talk) 20:56, 6 October 2009 (UTC)

L’Atelier de l'artiste. An 1837 daguerreotype by Daguerre.

A daguerreotype (original French: daguerréotype) is an early type of photograph And Kodachrome is a late type of photograph?

developed by Jacques Daguerre, in which the image is exposed directly onto a mirror-polished surface of silver

Are other process exposed indirectly?

bearing a coating of silver halide particles deposited by iodine vapor.

The halides are iodine, bromine and chlorine. If they were all deposited by iodine vapor, all of them would be silver iodide crystals and none of the other two halides would be present.

In later developments bromine and chlorine vapors were also used, resulting in shorter exposure times.

This applies to the other silver processes - collodion wet plate and silver gelatine.

The daguerreotype is a negative image, but the mirrored surface of the metal plate reflects the image and makes it appear positive when the silvered surface has a dark ground reflected into it. Thus, daguerreotype is a direct photographic process without the capacity for duplication.

Thus nothing. Daguerretypes were copied in the camera. Today the digital copies show better quality than most other photographic processes.

If you see a positive image, it is postive. It is only negative when it looks negative. The image is an illusion. RPSM (talk) 20:34, 16 November 2009 (UTC)

Question: First section, 6th paragraph[edit]

"When viewing the daguerreotype, a dak surface is reflected into the mirrored silver surface, and the reproduction of detail in sharp photographs is very good, partly because of the perfectly flat surface."

Should this be "a dark surface"? If not, what is a dak surface?

Quebec99 (talk) 21:08, 14 May 2010 (UTC)

Interesting question. I googled "When viewing the daguerreotype, a dak surface is reflected" and got about 4 hits. I changed it to "dark" and got 2 more hits. Presumably all wikipedia mirrors (or parrots) and in 2 cases they apparently made that assumption and fixed it. So I'm going to change it, and maybe later check and see if any of the 4 also go from "dak" to "dark". ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 21:16, 14 May 2010 (UTC)
It was supposed to be "dark". The "dak" was a bit of vandalism introduced on May 2 by this one-shot IP:[1]Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 21:30, 14 May 2010 (UTC)
Is the first sentence in this supposed to be the first successful photographic process? It just says that it is the successful one, which I suppose I'd be hard pressed to dispute, but still. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:46, 29 June 2010 (UTC)

30ºC ≠ 90ºF[edit]

What is the correct temperature to use to develop a daguerreotype? Is it 30ºC (86ºF) or 90ºF (32.22ºC)? They sure are not equal. (talk) 08:43, 18 November 2010 (UTC)

Amalgam controversy[edit]

Although the Daguerreotype image has long been regarded as a silver-mercury amalgam, with the disappearance of the image when sufficiently heated traditionally offered as evidence, there is considerable debate about this among researchers today (no time to spare for tracking down the refs, which is why I am writing here rather than editing). A compelling piece of evidence offered in opposition, and available since 1840, is the reality of Becquerel development, in which the image is developed by exposure to strong red light rather than mercury fumes. Used by many present-day Daguerreotypists for obvious safety reasons, it was known but almost never used during the heyday of the process. The point is, no mercury, so no amalgam, yet a visually similar result. Some believe that the mercury fumes must be regarded as a catalyst rather than an ingredient of the image, only causing the microscopic drop-like silver image elements to coalesce or grow out of the surface and not being an essential part of them. This controversy needs to be reflected in the article, which presently provides only several repetitions of the received wisdom on the matter. AVarchaeologist (talk) 00:29, 10 April 2011 (UTC)

P.S. Most of this article is a major mess. Is there no one out there to whip it into shape? The lead, in particular, needs to be overhauled to provide a quick explanation of what a Daguerreotype is, and especially of how to distinguish one from other cased images (a visual supplement showing one reflecting light and dark surfaces might be helpful), for that is the information the average user will be needing. As it is, they must wade through asphaltum and lavender oil and then pass through Chevalier and Petzval lenses, possibly emerging from the small end hardly any the wiser, or more able to tell the old paper snapshot that someone swapped into the pretty little case from an actual Daguerreotype. I am sure that there are several editors more qualified than I am on this subject, and I am trying to save myself for more arcane photographic topics about which I have some apparently much less common specialist knowledge. The Daguerreotype marked the birth of practical photography and it would be hard to overestimate the importance of this article in the category of photographic history. AVarchaeologist (talk) 01:23, 10 April 2011 (UTC)

(See the following section for more regarding the amalgam question) AVarchaeologist (talk) 17:58, 30 April 2011 (UTC)

I will agree, the article is a mess.842U (talk) 22:18, 1 May 2011 (UTC)

References (links)[edit]

Here is a reference that says the light parts of the image are silver amalgam, and the dark parts silver iodide: [2] and that the image was a negative and a positive at the same time, depending on which way you angled the plate. And here:

A Thumbnail History of the Daguerreotype (Kenneth E Nelson) RPSM (talk) 16:20, 28 April 2011 (UTC)

As this appears to be in response to the "Amalgam controversy" section I started above: indeed, the highlight areas of a Daguerreotype are almost inevitably described as a silver-mercury amalgam. That establishes the conventional wisdom, but it does nothing to establish scientific fact. It is surprising and disappointing that the website of the highly respectable Daguerreian Society is aiding and abetting the propagation of this traditional bit of received truth in the light of current knowledge. See [3] for some honest-to-gosh science about the structure of the image according to present-day understanding. And, to repeat, there is the powerful 160-year-old evidence provided by Becquerel development, which uses no mercury and so obviously cannot create an amalgam, yet produces visually similar results. As to the dark parts being silver iodide (or "iodine silver" as the ill-informed author of the first reference cited puts it), that might be said of a Daguerreotype which has been developed but not "fixed" with hypo (sodium thiosulfate) in the usual way, but the whole purpose of "fixing" is to remove any remaining silver iodide or other light-sensitive silver salts so as to render the surface of the finished image insensitive to light. There is no silver iodide remaining on any normally processed Daguerreotype. The dark areas are represented by smooth silver and only appear dark when a relatively dark surface is reflected in them. When a relatively bright surface, such as a sheet of white paper, is being reflected instead, the image appears as a negative because the frosty highlight areas reflect less light to the eye than the specular smooth areas. The image is very much like a scuff on a piece of chrome-plated car hardware: the scuff can appear either light or dark depending on the background and the lighting conditions. A brief in-person inspection of any reasonably untarnished Daguerreotype should make this plain. Misinformation about early photographic technology abounds online, and most egregiously on sites primarily devoted to some other subject (e.g., Nathaniel Hawthorne in the first-cited example). Print sources are certainly not immune to error, but a specialized book such as the last-cited one, or even a substantial chapter on Daguerreotypes in a general book on the history of photography, is likely to be a far more reliable source than a typical website with nth generation and variously garbled "information". AVarchaeologist (talk) 17:19, 30 April 2011 (UTC)

Were there gutta percha daguerreotype cases?[edit]

[4] There is a note in the history that Daguerreotype cases were NEVER gutta percha. Will investigate. [5]RPSM (talk) 13:57, 5 May 2011 (UTC)

A good point. Very probably, the common description of the material as "gutta percha" is another instance of erroneous conventional wisdom that needs to be demolished. The authoritative print source appears to be Union Cases: A Collector's Guide to the Art of America's First Plastics, a book to which I do not have access, but the claim accords with statements I now dimly recall seeing in print years ago. Perhaps the word "thermoplastic" could be used as a cheat to encompass both gutta percha and shellac-based compounds pending further (non-original) research? AVarchaeologist (talk) 10:15, 21 July 2011 (UTC)

"Union" cases which were late in the daguerreian period were made of thermoplastic resin - shellac and sawdust heated and pressed into a mold. Indeed these vases were never made of Gutta Percha which is a rubber like substance, the notion of it comes from mis-information on ebay. See Paul Berg's book on the history of daguerreotype cases. Most daguerreotype cases were wooden structures covered in leather , but also embossed paper, shell, velvet, even painted wood. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Casedimage (talkcontribs) 09:19, 25 November 2013 (UTC)

Thanks for the confirmation. Naturally, cases other than Union cases are self-evidently neither gutta percha nor a shellac-based thermoplastic. The common error can't be blamed on eBay, though—it has been around for many decades longer. Vintage gutta percha is a dark brownish or blackish hard material resembling the very hard rubber of an old plate or cut film developing tank (at least, old specimens of gutta percha are quite hard now—perhaps it was more pliable when new?) rather than anything the word "rubber" is likely to bring to mind, so the error is not as foolish as it may seem. AVarchaeologist (talk) 06:37, 30 November 2013 (UTC)

Something wrong with Page rendering[edit]

Footnote section-Advertisement Image-Further reading section shows a bad rendering.

Any body to correct it ??

I've seen it recently in few other pages also. (May be wiki dev team did made some changes)

Seen it in Google Chrome 13.0.782 & Firefox 6.0

— Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:17, 19 August 2011 (UTC) 


Repetitive introduction. Lots of material is redundant — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:46, 16 September 2011 (UTC)

Agree RPSM (talk) 11:55, 7 October 2011 (UTC)
I will see if I have time to make a drastic edit of the whole article so the same information is not repeatedly paraphrased the whole time. RPSM (talk) 11:55, 20 December 2011 (UTC)

The first photograph[edit]

I have added to the links section a link to the first photograph, now at the University of Austin. Daguerre did not make it. RPSM (talk) 16:23, 22 December 2011 (UTC)

Section "Daguerrotype Process" must go[edit]


To establish a description of what a daguerreotype is, it is necessary to state the process. How else would you define it from a collodion image on a front surfaced mirror or a photomechanical reproduction printed on a silvered metal surface. The description of the process is not intended as a how to, practical instructions for that would reach into pages of description, as it is a complicated process to execute. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Casedimage (talkcontribs) 11:01, 25 November 2013 (UTC)

What the hell?[edit]

Why would somebody complain about the "Daguerreotype process" section, and put their complaints in the article text, without just making the revisions themselves? Makes no sense. Somebody needs to tell that guy that's not how Wikipedia works. Sadly, I'm not a daguerreotype expert or I'd fix it myself. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:45, 5 October 2012 (UTC)

Daguerreotypes - nudes and pornography[edit]

Very soon after the daguerrotype process was invented it was used for studies of the female figure, as well as for pornography.Daguerreotype nudes, and police. How to mention this in the article without giving undue offence? RPSM (talk) 14:43, 23 October 2012 (UTC)

Useful links[edit]

Pioneers of Photography RPSM (talk) 19:06, 5 November 2012 (UTC)

For a Daguerreotypist permanently located the independent iron head-rest, B fig. 19, is the most preferable, principally on account of its solidity. It is entirely of iron, is supported by a tripod (a) of the same metal and can be elevated by means of a rod (b) passing through the body of the tripod, to a height sufficient for a person, standing, to rest against.

Daguerreotype head rest

Early photographic processes (for reference)[edit]

Omaha native americans - delegation - 1850 including a copy daguerreotype: for use later in article[edit]


1848 Cincinnati Waterfront Panorama Daguerreotype series showing sharp detail and long tonal range (for use later)[edit]

"THIS WEBSITE is a digitalized version of articles published in Nebraska History vol. 78(3), 116-121 ( and The Daguerreian Annual 1997, 146-158 ( revised. The articles have not been digitized by either of these publications." (above web address)


The nanotechnology of the daguerreotype - including view of Cincinnati Waterfront Panorama (daguerreotype):-

Dates when daguerreotypes were produced (heyday 1845 - 1855, but still produced in the 1860s):-

RPSM (talk) 14:13, 25 June 2013 (UTC)

Note on exposure times for daguerreotypes[edit]

Report (of the Commission of the Chamber of Deputies (the Commission was appointed by the King and was a joint commission, composed of members of the Chamber of Peers, headed by Gay-Lussac, and members of the Chamber of Deputies, headed by Arago. Arago, an astronomer, and Deputy of the East-Pyrénées, presented his report in the French Chamber of Deputies on July 3, 1839. The bill was to grant to M. Daguerre an annual and life pension of 6,000 francs and, second, the the son of M. Niépce, an annual life pension of 4,000 frqancs for the assignment to teh State of their process for the fixation of images obtained in the camera obscura. (to be continued) RPSM (talk) 02:09, 26 June 2013 (UTC)

I have copied the section "Demise" here. Far too many serious errors and false information to be retained in the article[edit]

==Demise== (deleted section - reproduced here and criticism) The intricate, complex, labor-intensive daguerreotype process itself helped contribute to the rapid move to the ambrotype and tintype. The proliferation of these simpler and much less expensive photographic processes made the costly daguerreotypes less appealing to the average person (although it remained very popular in astronomical observatories until the invention of glass plate cameras). According to Mace (1999), the rigidity of these images stems more from the seriousness of the activity than a long exposure time, which he says was actually only a few seconds (Early Photographs, p. 21). The daguerreotype's lack of a negative image from which multiple positive "prints" could be made was a limitation also shared by the tintype, but was not a factor in the daguerreotype's demise until the introduction of the wet plate photographic process. The fact that some of those to use the process suffered severe health problems or even death from mercury poisoning after inhaling toxic vapors created during the heating process also contributed to its falling out of favor with photographers.[1] Unlike film and paper photography, however, a properly sealed daguerreotype can potentially last indefinitely.

The daguerreotype's popularity was not threatened until photography was used to make imitation daguerreotypes on glass positives called ambrotypes, meaning "imperishable picture" (Newhall, 107).[2]

I make visible criticism embedded into the text:

The calotype was introduced in the early 1840s, the daguerreotype fell from being the most popular form of photography in the mid 1850's. The negative positive process that came to prominence after the daguerreotype's supremacy was the wet plate negative and albumen print. To say the daguerreotype's demise was brought on by the calotype is misleading and obviously false. The calotype never had widespread popularity across the globe as the daguerreotype did. Newhall [2] estimated that in America alone there were 40 million daguerreotypes made in the daguerreian period, some daguerreotypists suffered ill health form chemical exposure but not the majority or "many".\>

After years of reading on dageurreotypy and other early photographic processes I don't think it can be said that the inability to reproduce the image due to the absence of a negative was the "perhaps most importantly" factor in the daguerreotype's demise, as stated in the previous version of this article. The main evidence being that neither tintypes nor ambrotypes had negatives and could not be reproduced either, yet they supplanted dageurreotypy! By the end of the 19th century, the Calotype/Albumen print process had replaced all previous contenders, none of which used a negative/positive process --- James Arbogahst --> The daguerreotype's popularity was not threatened until photography was used to make imitation daguerreotypes on glass positives called ambrotypes, meaning "imperishable picture" (Newhall, 107).[2]

There was no demise of the daguerreotype as there was of, for example, the Kodak Dye Transfer Process which stopped when Kodak stopped making the Matrix film for it. Materials to make daguerreotypes have always been available, many workers, commercial and hobbyists worked with several early processes and not all were recorded or documented and, of course, the daguerreotype is being produced today, including as a medium for holograms. The term "demise" is inappropriate.

The reference quoted (Newhall) is not really an expert account of photographic processes, more a sort of blog about collecting daguerreotypes (the affordable ones) and has the following amusing review at Amazon:

One word is worth a thousand pictures: Awful, 21 Jun 1997 By A Customer This review is from: Unlocking the Secrets in Old Photographs (Paperback) The title would lead you to believe that those photos you found in the family bible may more easily be identified after reading this book. Think again. There is only one chapter, Chapter Three, that even comes close to delivering on its promise, i.e., "Dating Photographs: Clues to Identification." But even then, this chapter, like the others, is crammed with such drivel as "..a photo taken in America in 1885 cannot possibly be that of an ancestor who did not arrive until 1900." What? And another: "When you present photographs to relatives for identification purposes, you will be confronted with one of two situations. Your relatives either will or will not recognize the faces in the photos." No, I am not kidding. This is really the advice that is offered. The book is padded out with chapters such as "The First Step: Identifying the Family" and "Public Sources of Information." In a word, Awful. RPSM (talk) 10:31, 7 July 2013 (UTC)

Lots of waffle in the article is plain wrong[edit]

The daguerreotype had a short life of twenty years in Europe, while in the US the process was used up until 1900. As proof are these daguerreotypes recently discovered taken in Gurley, Alabama in the 1890s (although dating these is done by Gurley Lion's club without any reference to a historian.)

As a result, a large portion of the article can be erased that is a) conjecture and b) wrong. RPSM (talk) 20:23, 8 July 2013 (UTC)

Consider the source, please. Is the Gurley Lions Club likely to be a reliable source for expert information about daguerreotypes? Although it is often impossible to be certain from a reproduction whether a particular image is or is not a daguerreotype, in this case there is no room for reasonable doubt. The text makes it clear that the images are on metal rather than paper, but the paper mats seen framing several of them make it equally clear that the metal is iron (a useful tip for inquiring Gurley Lions: iron is attracted by a magnet, copper and silver are not) and that they are in fact tintypes. Compare, for example, the typical paper tintype mat framing the image currently at the top of the WP tintype article. In continental Europe, daguerreotypes were framed with a fairly thick passepartout cardboard mat under glass, but such alien practices were nearly unheard-of in the US, where gilt brass metal mats were standard. Because a daguerreotype's surface is easily and permanently marred by the slightest friction, they were not handed over to the client "raw" without a protective cover glass, and certainly not shoved into a slip-in paper or cardboard mat. I am the editor responsible for most (all?) of the text and cits about daguerreotypes made between the 1860s and the late 20th century revival. It seems very probable that someone somewhere made at least one daguerreotype in any given calendar year since the 1830s. But perhaps I should have made it plainer that even examples from as late as the mid-1860s are very rare. Examples from the 1870s and 1880s are practically unknown. Apart from a couple of astronomical images, I have never seen one reproduced. Were it not for decent documentation in print, such as the items now cited in the article, it would be very easy to dismiss any making of daguerreotypes between the 1860s and the 1950s as a myth. AVarchaeologist (talk) 01:18, 30 November 2013 (UTC)

The Antwerp Photography Museum has an article on daguerreotypy that states:

Even before Daguerre’s manual was translated and the first camera’s and supplies¨were made available in Paris, many set out to produce an image using ‘self-made’ cameras and chemical concoctions. The spread of this revolutionary medium was relatively rapid. By 1839 or early 1840, the process had already been introduced in several countries, including the United Kingdom, Belgium, The Netherlands, and Germany. Samuel Morse, the inventor of the Morse Code, introduced the medium in the United States in 1839. The daguerreotype was greeted with much enthusiasm and enjoyed a longer life (up to 1900) than in Europe.

RPSM (talk) 04:35, 10 July 2013 (UTC)

See comments inserted above. Although not absolutely extinct, exceedingly rare after the mid-1860s. Reliably dated later 19th century examples are virtually unknown today. AVarchaeologist (talk) 01:18, 30 November 2013 (UTC)
P.S. A very explicit statement about the extreme rarity of very late examples has now been added to the article. AVarchaeologist (talk) 13:08, 28 December 2013 (UTC)

This must be wrong[edit]

In 1829 French artist and chemist Louis Jacques-Mandé Daguerre, contributing a cutting edge camera design, partnered with Niépce, a leader in photochemistry, to further develop their technologies.

1) Daguerre was not a chemist, he was a trompe l'oeil theatrical scene painter (at least as far as trompe-l'oeil painting is stock- in-trade of theatrical stage painters).

2) Daguerre's camera was not cutting edge.

3) Daguerre never designed a camera.

4) Niépce was not a leader in photochemistry - perhaps a forerunner or early experimenter of one phenomenon. he invented an internal combustion engine and heliography, but photochemistry had not yet been developed.

5) The first patent in the world for a photographic camera was grantted in the US to Wolcott for his mirror camera. It was also known as Beard's camera because Beard, originally a coal merchant, took out patent rights for it in England. For a short time - up until the introduction of the Petzval lens, it was the leading technology used to obtain a brighter picture in the camera. RPSM (talk) 00:10, 5 January 2014 (UTC)

I would agree that the quoted sentence goes over the top by framing things in modern terms that could easily leave the reader with a mistaken impression, but although it ought to be rewritten (or deleted if redundant) it is in essence factually correct. The problem seems to be mainly one of early 19th century vs early 21st century meanings. Daguerre was already a chemist before his partnership with Niépce in that he was experimenting with various phosphorescent substances that lent some persistence to camera images, and that would have qualified him as "a chemist" by the standards of the time, which did not require a university degree or paid employment in the field to merit the description. The "cutting edge" camera was due mostly to Chevalier, but IIRC it was optically superior to the camera Niépce had been using and "cutting edge" in the sense that there was probably nothing better out there at the time. Although there was no discrete science of photochemistry in the 1830s, it would be hard to deny that the experiments of both Niépce ("a leader" during the 1820s by default at least) and Daguerre were within the field that would later be given that name. AVarchaeologist (talk) 16:14, 5 January 2014 (UTC)

The Daguerreotype in Europe and America after 1860 Grant B Romer[edit]

The above article appears to state that production of daguerreotypes persisted later that 1860 but I don't have access to the full article.

The Daguerreotypist in Europe and America after 1860

The illustration at the top of the article is a self-portrait made in the 1890s in the Met and in the Boston Museum of Fine Arts are three more portraits of the same man and one of his son - all daguerreotypes made in the 1890s.

The article was made available on line 1 October 2013 - re looking for solid evidence of the daguerreotype persisting post 1860 RPSM (talk) 03:45, 5 January 2014 (UTC)

Thanks for adding that link. I have long been aware of the article but have never had any access to it. The first page is better than nothing, and it is gratifying to finally see one of the late Hawes dags mentioned in the 1896 article I added as a cit a couple of years ago. I've just added Romer's article as a cit and toned down the rather overwrought disclaimer that I recently tagged on (see "Lots of waffle..." section above).
I must say, though, that Romer is guilty of a bit of reckless wording which implies, at least within the context of that one available page, that the process was in some sense "commonly used" in the US after its general abandonment in the 1860s. We are still talking about an extremely tiny fraction of one percent of later photographs. I would be surprised if even one in a hundred thousand of the countless millions of photos made in the US between 1870 and 1900 was a daguerreotype. One in a million is probably more like it. If it were otherwise, then there would be more surviving examples.
For a sense of the daguerreotype's widespread marginalization in the US by the end of 1861, see this contemporary article [7]. Despite the rosy hopes it expresses that the daguerreotype might regain its former standing, in fact it simply continued to lose ground and the 19th century literature after that date is usually just retrospective.
User Casedimage, who could do us all a favor by editing more actively, noted in one of the sections above that it would be difficult by a description of its appearance alone to differentiate between a daguerreotype and, for example, "a collodion image on a front surfaced mirror". Those words served to remind me of the possibility that some of the very late daguerreotypes, such as the ones mentioned in the 1929 article, may in fact have been pseudo-daguerreotypes: by creating what is essentially a tintype on a sheet of metal polished to a mirror finish rather than blackened, an imitation good enough for novelty purposes could be produced, complete with the characteristic negative-positive ambiguity. AVarchaeologist (talk) 14:03, 5 January 2014 (UTC)
P.S. As it turns out, images of the circa 1890 Hawes self-portrait shown on the first page of Romer's article, and another apparently from the same session, have been available at Wikimedia Commons since late 2009: [8] [9]. Another web gleaning is that the purveyor of a ready-made gelatin emulsion for latter-day tintype-making also promotes its use for just the sort of faux daugerreotypes imagined above. AVarchaeologist (talk) 22:08, 20 January 2014 (UTC)

Draft for lead to try and give a simple direct explanation of what Daguerre invented[edit]

I am putting this past you for you to ok. Under "Invention":-

The invention of the daguerreotype - the earlest photographic process to be commonly used the world over - consisted of finding a way to make a permanent record of the virtual image produced in a camera obscura (what today, we call a photographic camera). In other words to make a picture of anything that could be seen on the viewing screen of a dark box fitted with a lens. The picture was formed on a silvered metal plate, the image sitting directly on the metal surface being comprised of microscopic silver particles.

When the operator was skilful, and the plate correctly exposed and in focus, very sharp detail something something ... RPSM (talk) 03:41, 6 January 2014 (UTC)

I'm suffering from some presumably short-term burnout in connection with this article and not up for the task of helping to whip it into better shape right now, except to suggest that what it most needs at this point (excluding the bulldozer approach, which is sometimes the only practical way to deal with such a tangled mess) is organization of all the scattered bits and pieces and the purging of duplications, tangents, and sweeping epic narration (e.g., "Since the late Renaissance ... influenced Western art ... the advent of Modernism ..." etc). AVarchaeologist (talk) 06:20, 9 January 2014 (UTC)

An odd misconception[edit]

The article has now been rid of the following fallacy:

"A reduction in camera size and the size of the image always results in more light reaching the image plane and consequently reduced exposure times."

I've seen a similar statement somewhere online in connection with Talbot's early experiments: that he had the insight to realize a smaller camera would produce a brighter image and reduce the exposure time, hence his famous little "mousetrap" cameras. As I recall, it was on a photography-specialist site, which made such a fundamental error truly shocking.

Photography 101: the exposure time required depends on the lighting conditions, the sensitivity of the medium, and the lens aperture expressed as its working focal length divided by its diameter (or the diameter of its entrance pupil if a diaphragm is used), a number known as its f-number (or the f-stop, if referring to the diaphragm). A two-inch-diameter lens with an eight-inch focal length and a one-inch-diameter lens with a four-inch focal length are both f/4. The required exposure will be the same, safely ignoring the trivial additional absorption of light by the greater thickness of glass in the larger lens. Scaling a camera and lens up or down changes the size of the image but has only that negligible effect on its brightness.

The relevant advantage of using a smaller camera with a smaller image is that it makes a very "fast" lens with a low f-number more physically practical. For an extreme example, imagine the typical highly corrected multi-element f/1.8 or f/1.4 "normal" 50 mm focal length lens of a late 20th century 35 mm SLR camera scaled up to produce an eight-inch-high image instead of a one-inch-high image. It would require 8x8x8=512 times as much optical-quality glass and manufacturing such a lens would be a daunting project akin to making several large refracting telescope lenses. It would be impractically heavy and unwieldy and cost as much as a house. AVarchaeologist (talk) 06:20, 9 January 2014 (UTC)

Late and modern use[edit]

Although the daguerreotype process is usually said to have died out completely in the early 1860s, documentary evidence indicates that some very slight use of it persisted more or less continuously throughout the following 150 years of its supposed extinction.[3] A few first-generation daguerreotypists refused to entirely abandon their beautiful old medium when they started making the new, cheaper, easier to view but comparatively drab ambrotypes and tintypes.[4] Historically-minded photographers of subsequent generations, often fascinated by daguerreotypes, sometimes experimented with making their own or even revived the process commercially as a "retro" portraiture option for their clients.[5][6] These eccentric late uses were extremely unusual and surviving examples reliably dated to between the 1860s and the 1960s are now exceedingly rare.[7]

The above section should go entirely. 1) Southworth and Hawes's studion closed in 1863, so what is the point in pointing out that in one article that they remained loyal to the old process? Cartes de visites from wet plate negatives sold for one twelfth the price of a daguerreotype, and could be kept in albums. Exposures had become shorter, and repeat copies could be made. The process died out as shellac 78 rpm gramophone records did. The text contradicts itself by starting to insist that it was not replaced around 1860 and then qualifying this by saying that revivals by individuals were unknown and rare.

As for documentary evidence indicates that some very slight use of it persisted more or less continuously throughout the following 150 years of its supposed extinction. where is this documentary evidence - not in the reference quoted which is these very words with no evidence to back it up. The fact is that the earliest photographic process with its long exposures, cast iron head rests and daylight studios with blue tinted glass ended with only tiny sporadic revivals not worth mentioning. Therefore the whole paragraph should be deleted. RPSM (talk) 14:46, 10 July 2014 (UTC)

Are you prepared to delete the entire subsection and irrationally consign all uses of the process after the early 1860s to oblivion? If only material about "modern" daguerreotypists is to be retained and all else excluded, what shall be the magic cutoff date or the critical number of simultaneous practitioners required to make the phenomenon noteworthy? One of the "moderns" has been making daguerreotypes on and off since 1958, but back in the Eisenhower era he was a very lonely (although not unique) daguerreotypist. So, the 1950s -- in or out? If in, then on what rational basis can the reported practitioner in the late 1920s (cit #6), barely thirty years earlier, be excluded? Or the unnamed practitioner (in addition to Hawes) who was making daguerreotypes on recycled plates thirty years before that, in the 1890s (cit #5)? How about uses for scientific photography (even when on a glass plate, emulsions slightly contract as the result of processing, so daguerreotypes provided the ultimate in dimensional stability), alluded to elsewhere in the article, back in the 1870s and 1880s? If the cited sample evidence of a pattern of slight but persistent ongoing use is inadequate to satisfy you, then by all means track down the remaining eleven pages of Grant Romer's 1977 article, as that is his subject and he probably provides a number of additional examples. In the meanwhile, contemplate the statement by an expert (cit #3) that "... the daguerreotype as a commercial process rapidly disappeared. There is strong evidence, however, that this most beautiful of photographic processes has continuously been practiced since its heyday, first by a persistent few of the original daguerreians who refused to give it up, then by others who learned anew from the period books and journals. This tradition continues through the present day." The paragraph you want to annihilate says very much the same thing as that expert, but in my own written-off-the-cuff different (and therefore non-copyvio) language.
Your aversion to this material thoroughly mystifies me, but it must be very substantial: first you insisted that it underreports the amount of late use, now you not only claim the exact opposite but see contradictions where there are none and even bizarrely misquote what is right there in black and white above your comments -- where, for example, do you find a statement that "revivals by individuals were unknown [!] and rare"? By the way, if you believe "long exposures, cast iron head rests and daylight studios with blue tinted glass ended" with the general commercial demise of the daguerreotype, you have bought into a common error spread by sloppy reporting and assumptions. By the late 1850s, fast lenses and the refinement of multiple halogen sensitization had reduced exposure times in a brightly lit studio to a few seconds. Wet plate negative, ambrotype and tintype exposures were about the same and the headrests remained. The advantages of the collodion processes were much lower cost and more convenient and easily viewed results. Unsteady-subject-resistant "instantaneous" exposures only became possible with the advent of ripened emulsion gelatin dry plates at the end of the 1870s (and magnesium powder flash photography, when necessary, in the mid-1880s) and it took some years for those to come into general use.
The reviled quantum of text is one of the most abundantly and respectably cited paragraphs in the article. It is plainly of special relevance to this article and extremely relevant to the topic of the subsection. There is no other WP article where it would more logically be located. AFAIK, it is all factually correct. Although it may be of nil or negative value to you, I have no doubt that a significant number of readers (meaning non-editing and daguerreotype-uninitiated "civilians", the inquiring readers we are supposed to be writing for) will find it an interesting and informative segue into and contextualization of the material about modern daguerreotypy that follows it. No valid basis for removing it is apparent. AVarchaeologist (talk) 14:00, 15 July 2014 (UTC)