Dating old photographs can be difficult at times. Explore resources for dating cabinet cards, daguerreotypes and other old family photos. Relatives started cleaning out their closets and sending me the old family photographs! I received literal boxes of family photographs. Some arrived by email.
Daguerreobase - Journal
Invented by Louis Daguerre and introduced worldwide in ,    the daguerreotype was almost completely superseded by with new, less expensive processes Ambrotype yielding more readily viewable images. There was a revival of daguerreotype in the late 20th century by a small number of photographers interested in making artistic use of early photographic processes. To make the image, a daguerreotypist would polish a sheet of silver-plated copper to a mirror finish, treat it with fumes that made its surface light sensitive, expose it in a camera for as long as was judged to be necessary, which could be as little as a few seconds for brightly sunlit subjects or much longer with less intense lighting; make the resulting latent image on it visible by fuming it with mercury vapor; remove its sensitivity to light by liquid chemical treatment, rinse and dry it, then seal the easily marred result behind glass in a protective enclosure. The image is on a mirror-like silver surface, normally kept under glass, and will appear either positive or negative , depending on the angle at which it is viewed, how it is lit and whether a light or dark background is being reflected in the metal. The darkest areas of the image are simply bare silver; lighter areas have a microscopically fine light-scattering texture.
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Top 10 Resources for Dating Old Photographs
Most family historians have THAT box. The box always looks roughly the same. Not long after I took up genealogy in , I began inheriting boxes and bags like those, and they all had lots of photographs — old ones. The photographs from the latter half of the 20th century are easiest to identify.
I was putting together some information on dating old photographs recently and starting going through my collection of vintage photographs for examples of each type of format. I did not have any examples of cased photographs daguerreotypes, ambrotypes in either my personal photos or in the pile of pictures I have accumulated from local antique shops. After another unsuccessful trip to the local shops, I decided the easiest option would be to buy what I needed online. I found this auction on eBay:.