But such was not the case because a quarter-century earlier, in 1839, Frenchman Louis-Jacques-Mandé Daguerre announced the first commercially successful photographic process. His daguerreotype was built on the work of others who had experimented with various chemicals, plates, and techniques. News of the invention spread across the Atlantic, and galleries popped up across the United States. As years passed and the industry rapidly expanded, enterprising individuals sought to reduce costs. Experiments with less-expensive materials resulted in the introduction of two new formats about 1855: the ambrotype and tintype.
Calling Cards From the Civil War
In 1861, young men going off to war had photos made that today are an important addition to the historical record.
By Ronald S. Coddington
How would we remember the Civil War if photography had not yet been invented? Wartime likenesses of leading military and political leaders would be preserved as engravings, sketches, and paintings. The aftermath of important battles would be pictured in similar fashion. Men in the ranks or onboard ships and the officers who led them would be imaginary figures in woodcuts, products of an artist’s imagination.