Daguerreotype process

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The daguerreotype process was invented by Louis Daguerre and introduced in 1839. It was the first practical and widely used photography process and marked the start of the photography era.

A daguerreotype consists of polished silver that is applied to a copper plate. The silver becomes light sensitive by treatment with iodine fumes, which produces silver iodide. After the plate was exposed in the camera, the image was developed by treatment of heated mercury fumes. The developed plate resulted in a positive image. There was no negative which could be used to reproduce the image and each daguerreotype is therefore unique.

The daguerreotype process was widely used for creating stereo photos. Because of the reflections of the silver on the copper plate, viewing a stereo daguerreotype was difficult. Special viewers were introduced to improve the viewing experience.

The process was popular in the 1840s and the early 1850s. It was replaced by the wet collodion process.

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