ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Who was Louis Jacques Mande Daguerre?

Updated on December 2, 2016

Daguerreotype is a photograph made by the first practical process of photography. The process, invented by Louis Daguerre in 1839, was based on the light sensitivity of silver iodide. It consisted of exposing a silver-surfaced brass plate to iodine vapor, which, interacting with the silver, formed a thin layer of silver iodide. After exposure in the camera, the latent image on the plate was developed by treating the silvered surface with mercury vapor. The mercury combined with the exposed silver iodide to form an image consisting of a mercury-silver amalgam. The unexposed silver iodide was then removed by immersing the plate in a solution of sodium thiosulfate. After rinsing in water, the plate was dried and mounted under glass to protect it.

The process, as described by Daguerre in 1839, required an exposure time of from 10 to 15 minutes in full sunlight. The following year the time of exposure was greatly reduced by sensitizing the plate with silver iodide and silver bromide. In 1841 a new portrait lens reduced the exposure time still further.

Portrait studios were opened in London, Philadelphia, New York, and most other large cities early in 1840. In 1853 there were more than 80 daguerreotype studios in New York City.

Louis Jacques Mande Daguerre (1789-1851), French inventor of the first practical process of photography, the daguerreotype. He was also an artist, and the inventor of the diorama (1822).

Daguerre was born in Cormeilles-en-Parisis, Seine-et-Oise, France, on Nov. 18, 1789. Originally a theatrical scene painter, in 1822 he established the Diorama, a theatrical spectacle that required large panoramic paintings. Accurate details and perspective were often attained in the paintings by making the basic sketches with the aid of a camera obscura.

Daguerre decided to try to make the camera obscura images permanent with a light-sensitive substance. However, there is no record of his earliest experiments. He had accomplished little until 1829, when he learned that Joseph Nicephore Niepce was engaged on the same problem and with some success.

The inventors were brought together by the optician Charles Chevalier, in 1826, and a meeting was arranged, and the two agreed to a partnership. They signed in 1829 an agreement on co-operation "for the further improvement of the invention of Niepce which was perfected by Daguerre". Daguerre discarded as impractical the asphalt process on which Niepce had spent several years. Niepce died in 1833.

The decisive step in the invention of the daguerreotype was Daguerre's discovery (1835) of the possibility of developing with mercury vapour the iodized silver plates the partners had been using.

Daguerre returned to Niepce's earlier work with silver salts and found that silver iodide was more sensitive to light than silver nitrate, but more importantly he discovered the latent image. He found that mercury would develop an image on a silver plate sensitized with silver iodide after an exposure of 10 to 15 minutes; Niepce had required hours to obtain an image. In the same year Daguerre found that common salt would make the image permanent; Niepce had been unable to fix his images. The final step was to fix the picture with sodium chloride (1837).

Early in 1839 the Diorama burned. Daguerre and Niepce's son Isidore, failing to sell the daguerreotype process to pay debts, accepted pensions for lire from the government in exchange for the invention. The first report of the discovery was made by the French physicist Arago, on 7th January, 1839, to the French Academy of Sciences. The publication of the process followed on 19th August, 1839. A printed handbook was published at the same time. The process was bought by the French Government and given "free to the world" on 19th August, 1839, but had been patented in England, Wales and the Colonies five days earlier. The coming of the daguerreotype aroused vivid interest over the whole of the civilized world, and for some years the process was popular. Its one grave defect, that it produced one original only, was the cause of its gradual replacement by negative-positive processes whereby copies could be produced.

By the end of the year daguerreotypes were being made all over the world. Daguerre took no part in the improvements in the process that followed rapidly. He retired to a country home in Brysur-Marne near Paris where he died on July 10, 1851.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Paradise7 profile image


      8 years ago from Upstate New York

      Very interesting and informative hub, thank you!


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)