Dating daguerreotype cases

Naturally, the mats and cases containing daguerreotypes provide plenty of information and clues to help date the pieces. Unfortunately, both items are easily .
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All the best with your collection! Thank you for sending along that interesting article, and for clarifying what must be a very common misconception! While I knew that the leather cases were eventually paper-covered, the information about gutta percha is completely new to me and I suspect unknown to most dealers.

Interview with Ed about Imaging and Analysis of Daguerreotypes

Please note that I have edited this page to reflect what you and the reader before you have supplied. And thanks again for your valuable contribution! Hi Mark, Glad to add to your piece. I'm no expert, I've got a half dozen or so cased images, mostly dags, and another set of vintage, cartes, tintypes, etc. I am a photographer, first using large format in the 70's, and still use it today. I also am craft oriented, and work with leather occasionally.

Daguerreotype - Wikipedia

So far as I've seen, the leather covered cases are early, often possibly almost exclusively with metal hinges, and fairly simple embellishments. The more ornate embossed cases almost always have a soft hinge. Most people looking at these cases think they are leather. I have a couple in excellent shape, shiny with deep strong relief which indeed look like leather.

However, the ones I've dissected have a thin layer over a heavier paper, adhered to a thin contoured wood case. It is my belief these were somehow made with paper, possibly a plastic or shellac sheet in a metal embossing press, possibly with some heat. In fact possibly the manufacture and patents of the "union cases" influenced the creation process of these paper cases. What I'd love to find and I've looked hard online are some of the original embossing dies either for Union cases, or these paper ones.

I have yet to find them.

Daguerreotype Cases

I don't know if the originals were scrapped and used in peace or war times, but I'm surprised to not find an odd die or set. Possibly you or one of your readers might have some input on the production process? Hi, Scott - I've never seen any record of dies for daguerreotype cases, either. I visited there about 25 years ago, and the place George Eastman's actual home has an awesome collection of early photography. I remember in particular seeing a beautiful fire hall plaque with multiple windows, each revealing a daguerreotype of a fireman in uniform. I believe the Eastman House also owns that famous multi-panel panorama of the Cincinnati waterfront.

My link to photography is through both of my grandfathers. One was a life-long avid photgrapher, and the other was an early employee of Kodak, starting there in I grew up with more old family photographs than most people. Eastman might be a good place to inquire I'd better do it sooner than later ": Thanks for the feedback.

Your family must have a great collection of history in their personal collection. I'll continue to add to the gallery as I acquire new pieces. I bought the above image as I was preparing this page. The daguerreotype, its brass frame and the glass that went over both, were all sealed by the photographer with a fine paper that went around the edges.

That was to keep the daguerreotype from darkening through oxidation, and it was a normal practice. Nonetheless, in the ensuing years, the seal decayed, the image oxidized, and that's why you see a dark halo around the frame. In the early s, Martha A. There she found "ten small bundles carefully wrapped in brown paper and tied with twine.

Here is a beautiful, studio, sharp and clear full case, sixth plate daguerreotype image of a seated prominent and notable looking gent. There is studio gold tint on his watch chain and ring. This is an antique Civil War Soldier Daguerreotype. There is a U. Internal Revenue Certificate stamp of 5 Cents in the case.

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It is dated October, The case is of wood. A small crack can be Here is a half case, sixth plate daguerreotype image of an attractive young mom holding her baby girl Christening gown? The mom has hanging crossed bows. Here is a half case, sixth plate daguerreotype image of a seated, well-dressed young man. Clayton, Taken in Phila. ABT - Grandfather. There will be no ex The copper plate is heavy and usually about 0. The image is extremely fragile, but the metal support does not factor into this vulnerability.

Glass is a transparent support material used for light-sensitive image materials, including the ambrotype. In general, glass is a very chemically stable support material. However, any glass plate is vulnerable to severe breakage and cracking. It has been reported that mild degradation of a glass support may be caused by prolonged exposure to high humidity, resulting in a hazy appearance.

Daguerreotype Cases

Extreme shifts in temperature could also cause glass to crack. A magnet can easily identify the support. Iron corrosion is the main contributor to tintype deterioration. A humid environment can cause the iron support to rust, which causes the lacquer and overlying emulsion to blister and flake.


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Note abrasions on the fragile silver image surface. Do not remove a Daguerreotype from its casing.


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  4. Note abrasions on the exposed copper plate. Note the scratches and rust on the iron back.