Photograph Protective Cases: Photographic Formats


Figure 1.-- The same cases developed for Daguerreotypes were used for Ambrotypes when that process was developed. While a glass plate was used rather than a metal plate, the Daguerreotype cases worked fine. This is an American ambrotype and case, probably from the late 1850s. Put your cursor on the image to see the outside of the case.

Early photographers commonly provided portraits to clients in protective cases. It was Daguerreotypes and ambrotypes that most commonly came in protective cases. In fact these photographic formats are commonly associated with these cases, at least in America. We are less sure about Europe. Both were single exposure formats and very fragile. The dag was a polished metal plate which could be easily scratched. Ambrotyes were class plates. We also find tin-types in these cases. Early tin types were also enclosed in these cases, but the case could cost more than the cost of the tin-type and when these cases went out of style in the early 60s and more inexpensives approaches were found such as paper mounts. As far as we know the cases for dags and ambros were identical, at least the ones done in the 1850s after the anrotype pricess was developed. Tin-typ cases could be different. We note inexpensive mounts that looked liked the more expansive dag amd ambro mounts. They were developed for inexpensive tin-types because people came to think that was how photographs should be presented. While not very common, we also notice CDVs in cases.

Daguerreotypes and Ambrotypes

It was Daguerreotypes and ambrotypes that most commonly came in protective cases. These were very different format types producing images on polished metal plates and a glass plate, but the protective cases used were identical. The cases were very common in America. In fact these photographic formats are commonly associated with these cases, at least in America. They seem to have been less common in Europe. We are not sure why this difference developed. Both were single exposure formats and could not be duplicated or replaced. There were no negatives. The Dag was a highly polished metal plate which could be easily scratched or mared. Ambrotyes were glass plates and easily broken. Thus both needed protection. And especially for Ambros, the cases helped show off the image.

Tin-types

We also find tin-types in these cases. Early tin types were also enclosed in these cases, in some cases the exact sane cases as Dags and Ambros. The cases became so associated with photographic portraits that clients expected the cases, at least in America. This meant, however, that the cases could cost more than the cost of the tin-type. Tin-type cases could be different. We note inexpensive mounts that looked liked the more expansive dag amd ambro mounts. They were developed for inexpensive tin-types because people came to think that was how photographs should be presented. At first lest expensive cases were devised for the tin-types. These cases went out of style in the early-60s, although we still see some throughout the decade. More inexpensives approaches were found for tin-types in the 1870s such as paper mounts into which they were inserted. .

CDVs

While not very common, we also notice CDVs in cases. The primary way in which CDVs were saved and archives was heavy cardboard pages with slots for the CDVs. The pages were part of albyms. We see ,any images of 19th century individuals and families looking theough these albums. HBC readers have provided us information on some of these anbums which they have collected. We have not found very many CDV cases. We do not think they were very common, but they did exist.








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Created: 12:27 AM 8/19/2007
Last updated: 9:38 PM 4/30/2009