Early Photography Timeline

A timeline showing the development of various photographic print formats that is detailed in the text on this page

1839 | 1850 | 1851 | 1853 | 1854 | 1859 | 1866 | 1871



Louis Jacques Mandé Daguerre announces the daguerreotype.

Salted paper photographs or salt prints

William Henry Fox Talbot was one of the pioneers in making positive paper photo prints. Salted paper photographs or salt prints as they were commonly called are introduced in 1839. Eclipsed by the daguerreotype and albumen prints, they are mostly gone by 1860.

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Albumen paper prints

Louis Désiré Blanquart-Evrard introduces the albumen paper print process in 1850 utilizing the albumen component obtained from the whites of chicken eggs. These wildly popular photographs have their peak from about 1855 through 1890.



Frederick Scott Archer introduces the wet plate collodion process, used in ambrotypes and early tintypes.



Adolphe-Alexandre Martin invents the tintype photograph. It is patented in America by Prof. Hamilton Smith in 1856.



The carte-de-visite is patented by André-Adolphe-Eugène Disderi. It is introduced in New York around 1859.

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Stereograph cards

Oliver Wendell Holmes invents a handheld stereoscope viewer. Stereograph cards become popular.


Mounted albumen prints

Mounted albumen prints known as cabinet cards become popular. Larger sizes such as Imperial, Boudoir and Victoria are introduced later.


Gelatin silver prints

The gelatin silver print process is introduced by Richard Leach Maddox in 1871. With numerous improvements by many others the process proves popular well into the 1970s.

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Page last modified: May 20, 2016