On this day January 9, 1839

The French Academy of Sciences announced the Daguerreotype photographic process, named after its inventor, French artist and chemist Louis Daguerre.


Abraham Lincoln daguerreotype

The announcement of the daguerreotype process in 1839, along with William Fox Talbot’s in the same year, marks the date used as the invention of photography.

Instead of Daguerre obtaining a French patent, the French government provided a pension for him.

In Britain, Miles Berry, acting on Daguerre’s behalf, obtained a patent for the daguerreotype process on 14 August 1839. Almost simultaneously, on 19 August 1839, the French government announced the invention as a gift “Free to the World”.

A daguerreotype (original French: daguerréotype) is an early type of photograph in which the image is exposed directly onto a mirror-polished surface of silver bearing a coating of silver halide particles deposited by iodine vapor.

The daguerreotype is a negative image, but the mirrored surface of the metal plate reflects the image and makes it appear positive in the proper light. Thus, daguerreotype is a direct photographic process without the capacity for duplication.


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