Discover your inside story. Save 20% on Ancestry DNA April 21-26

November 17, 2014

Identifying Early Photographs

The following article was originally written by Lorine McGinnis Schulze and published on Olive Tree Genealogy at

It may not be reproduced in any way without my written consent.

Daguerreotypes (ca 1839)

Photography arrived in the United States in 1839 thanks to Samuel F. B. Morse, an American artist and inventor. Morse visited Daguerre in Paris in March 1839 and observed a demonstration of the daguerreotype process. He returned to the United States to spread the news, and by the end of 1839 some larger cities on the East Coast had very successful portrait studios.
daguerreotype 6th plate 1854 Franklin Amos Pratt 6th plate Daguerreotype taken ca 1854

Ambrotypes (circa 1854)

The ambrotype was a glass negative backed with black material, which enabled it to appear as a positive image. Patented in 1854, the ambrotype was made, packaged, and sold in portrait studios as the daguerreotype had been, but at a lower cost. The ambrotype produced a single image on glass.
9th plate Ambrotype ca 1858 9th plate Ambrotype ca 1858
1861 Ambrotype 6th plate Ambrotype 1861
Next up I will talk about Tintypes, Cartes de Visite and Cabinet Cards. Also see my YouTube Video Five Types of Early 19th Century Photographs 

1 comment:

Jana Last said...


I want to let you know that your blog post is listed in today's Fab Finds post at

Have a wonderful weekend!