|What is a:
or Cabinet Card?
A reverse image produced on a silver-coated copper plate. Frenchman, Louis
Jacques Mande Daguerre combined his own work with that of Joseph Nicephore
Niepce and brought the daguerreotype to the world. Announced publicly in France
in 1839, the daguerreotype quickly made its way to America. By late 1839
daguerreotypes were being produced in America.
The daguerreotype has virtually no image grain and has rich black and bright
whites. The daguerreotype is considered to be the most desirable of the "hard
images." It is historically significant as the first practical photograph, and the image
quality is superior to that of the tintype and ambrotype. By 1860 the daguerreotype
had largely been replaced by the faster, cheaper and easier processes of the
ambrotype and tintype.
A negative image produced on a glass plate, viewed as a positive by the addition
of a black backing or by being produced on a dark glass plate. The ambrotype had a
relatively short popular time span stretching from 1854 through 1865.
A negative image produced on a thin iron plate, viewed as positive due to the
undercoating of black Japan varnish. Cheap and durable, tintypes were popular
from the mid 1850's through the end of the 19th century. The tintype is the most
plentiful of the "hard images." Early tintypes were thick and heavy and usually
bear the imprint of manufacturer. The earliest tintype plates had one of the
following two embossments:
MELAINOTYPE PLATE FOR NEFF'S PROCESS Pat19Feb56
GRISWOLD'S PATENTED OCT.26.1856
Tintypes produced after the middle 1860's were not cased. These were often put in
albums or paper holders that are the size of a carte de viste (CDV).
Albumen Prints :
A photographic print made on paper on which egg whites (albumen) are coated in
order to increase the paper's sensitivity and tonal qualities. A glass plate is used
as the negative. Egg whites were beaten to a froth and drops of a saturated solution
of potassium nitrate were added together with a solution of silver nitrate.
Carte De Viste or CDV:
A 2 1/4 by 3 1/2 inch photographic "calling card", usually created as one of a
number of images on a single glass photographic plate. Their popularity in America
for inexpensive portrait photography started about 1860. These are typically
albumen images (though early versions could be salt prints) mounted on card stock
measuring about 2 1/2 X 4 inches. Numerous images could be obtained from the
negative unlike the "hard images" (Daguerreotypes, ambrotypes, tintypes) which
were one of a kind. This lead to people freely exchanging images. They collected
images of their relatives, fellow soldiers, famous people etc.
An albumen print measuring about 4 X 5 inches on a stiff card mount measuring
about 4 1/2 X 6 inches. These were popular from the late 1860's through the early
part of the twentieth century.