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Questions about early non-paper photography

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David Allen Lambert

David Allen Lambert
Online Genealogist

Question:  While going through family photographs from New York, I have been confused on the difference of an Ambrotype and a Dagerreotype.  Is there any difference really?


Answer:  The earliest form of photography used in America was the process that produce a Daguerreotype.  This was first know to be used in 1839 in America, and continued to be popular through the 1850's.  The basic way to determine a "Dag" from an Ambrotype is the metalic mirror image you will get when you tilt the cased photograph. A Boston inventor named James Ambrose Cutting is regarded the inventor in 1854 of the Ambrotype process. The Ambrotype will not give the same metallic reflective shine.  You will note that an Ambrotype has a greyish coloring, and is not as brilliant in contrast to the daguerreotype.  For a detailed description of each: (Ambrotype) , and (Daguerreotype)

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