|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been replaced by the faster, cheaper and easier processes of the ambrotype and tintype.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.