History of Photography 1800-1910

  • Invention of the Battery

    Invention of the Battery
    A battery is a chemical reactor that stores energy. Invented by physicist and chemist Alessandro Volta, who became the pioneer of power generation. His invention first made with copper and zinc disks and saltwater proved that electricity could be generated through a chemical medium.
  • Thomas Jefferson Elected President of the United States

    Thomas Jefferson Elected President of the United States
    Thomas Jefferson, one of the most famous Founding Fathers, became president and was the author of the Declaration of Independence which first spoke of an independent country for the American states.
  • Thomas Wedgwood and Humphrey Davy - Pioneers of Photography

    Thomas Wedgwood and Humphrey Davy - Pioneers of Photography
    Thomas Wedgwood was the first who thought to create impermanent pictures by capturing camera images on material coated with a light-sensitive chemical. He attempted to use a camera obscura, however unsuccessfully. Wedgwood then met Davy who wrote Wedgwood's work for publication in in London’s Journal of the Royal Institution called, “An Account of a Method of Copying Paintings upon Glass, and of Making Profiles, by the Agency of Light upon Nitrate of Silver. Invented by T. Wedgwood, Esq.”
  • Lewis and Clark Expedition

    Lewis and Clark Expedition
    A select group of military men, called the Corps of Discovery and civilians, led by Captain Meriwether Lewis and Second Lieutenant William Clark to explore the US lands obtained in the 1803 Louisiana Purchase and the Pacific Northwest.
  • War of 1812

    War of 1812
    Conflict fought between the United States and Great Britain over British violations of U.S. maritime rights and from American anger over trade issues, impressment of sailors, and British support of Indian attacks on the frontier, the conflict saw the US Army attempt to invade Canada while British forces attacked south. It ended with the exchange of ratification of the Treaty of Ghent.
  • Niepce Creates a Negative Photograph

    Niepce Creates a Negative Photograph
    French scientist Joseph Nicephore Niepce developed the first photographic image with a camera obscura. It was a negative photo of a window and the picture vanished because in daylight the coated paper becomes completely black. “Retinas on silver chloride”
  • First Permanent Image

    First Permanent Image
    Joseph Nicéphore Niépce uses a camera obscura to burn a permanent image of the countryside at his Le Gras, France, estate onto a chemical-coated pewter plate using technique of "sun drawing" called "heliography". It took a total of 8 hours and faded a lot, however is still visible on the plate today. "View from the Window at Le Gras" was created by exposing a bitumen-coated plate in a camera obscura for several hours on his windowsill.
  • Invention of the Typewriter

    Invention of the Typewriter
    This was the first invention that provided an alternative to hand-writing letters. An American inventor named William Burt was the first to patent the typewriter and quickly became useful for documentation mostly in offices, but found in other places that could afford it.
  • Daguerreotype

    Louis-Jacques-Mandé Daguerre, a professional scene painter for the theatre, made preliminary sketches by tracing the images produced by both the camera obscura and the camera lucida. Daguerre had discovered that a latent image forms on a plate of iodized silver and that it can be “developed” and made visible by exposure to mercury vapour, which settles on the exposed parts of the image, reducing exposure time from 8 hours to 30 minutes."Still Life" Daguerreotype.
  • Panic of 1837

    Panic of 1837
    The policies of the U.S. government under President Andrew Jackson created an economic crisis which became known as the Panic of 1837. Prices went up along with unemployment. It lasted for the majority of the 1830's until the mid 1840's.
  • Development of Stereoscopic Photography

    Development of Stereoscopic Photography
    In the 1830s, Charles Wheatstone proposed a theory of three-dimensional vision and invented the stereoscope. This was achieved in the 1840's initially by taking one photograph, then moving the camera a few inches and taking a second. In late 1840s, David Brewster greatly improved the viewer by using lenses instead of mirrors and this allowed a compact, portable device to be produced.
  • Development of the Calotype

    Development of the Calotype
    William Henry Fox Talbot was a British landowner, scientist, archaeologist, politician who invented the calotype process. In this technique, a sheet of paper coated with silver chloride was exposed to light in a camera obscura. Those areas hit by light became dark in tone, yielding a negative image and used gallic acid that could be used to “develop” the image on the paper. This took exposure times from a half hour down to a minute.
  • California Gold Rush

    California Gold Rush
    The Forty-Niners swarmed west dreaming of an escape from wage slavery achieved not through agrarian competency, but through instant wealth. It was the largest mass migration in American history since it brought about 300,000 people to California. It all started on January 24, 1848, when James W. Marshall found gold on his piece of land at Sutter’s Mill in Coloma.
  • Development of the Wet Collodion Process

    Development of the Wet Collodion Process
    Photography was revolutionized in 1851 by the introduction of the wet collodion process for making glass negatives. Invented by the English sculptor Frederick Scott Archer, was 20 times faster than all previous methods. Paper prints could easily be made from glass-plate negatives, however the drawback is the photographer had to sensitize the plate almost immediately before exposure and expose it and process it while the coating was moist.
  • Carte-de-visite Photography

    Carte-de-visite Photography
    Immensely popular in the mid-19th century, the Parisian portrait photographer André-Adolphe-Eugène Disdéri patented the method of using a four-lensed camera, which made eight 3.5 × 2.5-inch negatives on one full-sized plate, was then cut up into small portraits, which were separately mounted on cards. These cards were inexpensive relative to other forms of portraiture, and eight different poses could be made at one sitting, requiring no retouches.
  • Crimean War - First Substantial War Photographed

    Crimean War - First Substantial War Photographed
    Roger Fenton, best known photographer for the Crimean War to document conflict. Fenton agreed to go to the scenes of battle along with his assistant Marcus Sparling, a servant called William, and a wagon of equipment. He spent four months taking photographs there. He could not take action shots, sue to exposure time, and Fenton did not believe in taking pictures of dead bodies. His work focused on landscapes."The Valley of the Shadow of Death" was his most famous photo taken after the war.
  • Combination Printing - Art Photography

    Combination Printing - Art Photography
    “Father of art photography,” Oscar G. Rejlander has been praised for his early experiments with combination printing, his collaboration with Charles Darwin, and his influence on the work of Julia Margaret Cameron and Lewis Carroll. His “Two Ways of Life” photograph was created by printing figures from 30 negatives to create a scene that never existed in reality.
  • The Panoramic Camera

    The Panoramic Camera
    Thomas Sutton invented and patented the first wide-angle lens' panoramic camera. The spherical lens was filled with water that would project an image onto a long, curved plate. Sutton's invention marked an important turning point in early landscape photography.
  • Abraham Lincoln Elected

    Abraham Lincoln Elected
    Lincoln was elected the 16th president of the United States. Lincoln received only 40 percent of the popular vote. The senatorial campaign featured a series of public encounters on the slavery issue, known as the Lincoln-Douglas debates, where Lincoln argued against the spread of slavery.
  • Civil War Began

    Civil War Began
    The civil war officially began on April 12, 1861 when Confederate forces bombarded the Union controlled Fort Sumter in Charleston Bay. There were many causes of the civil war, including differences between northern and southern states on the idea of slavery, as well as trade, tariffs, and states rights.
  • John Johnson and John Harrison's Pantoscopic Camera

    John Johnson and John Harrison's Pantoscopic Camera
    This box-form camera, made by Johnson and Harrison, was one of the first to be designed to take panoramic photographs on glass plates. The images it produced were of a 110º view on 7.5" x 12" flat collodion plates. The clockwork motor rotated the camera, the glass plate was moved past a slot in the camera back, to make the exposure.
  • Development of the Dry Plate

    Development of the Dry Plate
    In an attempt to replace the current wet collodion process, inventor Dr. Richard L. Maddox created the gelatin process, as an improved type of photographic plate. This process became so widely adopted by 1879 that the first dry plate factory had been established where the complex chemistry work was done relieving photographers and allowing them to expand.
  • Use of Photography for Mugshots

    Use of Photography for Mugshots
    Alphonse Bertillon, "father of the mug shot", was a clerk in the Prefecture of Police of Paris who invented the modern mug shot featuring full face and profile views, standardizing the lighting and angles. The breakthrough for his methodology came in 1884, when he identified 241 repeat offenders using their mug shots and measurements.
  • The Great Chicago Fire

    The Great Chicago Fire
    The Great Chicago Fire was a very destructive fire that consumed a major area of Chicago. The fire broke out on October 8, 1871 and for two days destroying over 17,000 buildings and killed 300 people. It is considered one of the most devastating city fires in U.S. history.
  • Charles Darwin - Portraits for Science

    Charles Darwin - Portraits for Science
    The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals is Charles Darwin's third major work of evolutionary theory. Darwin conducted one of the first studies on how people recognize emotion in faces. He used photography to argue that all humans, and even other animals, show emotion through remarkably similar behaviors and published is findings.
  • Invention of the First Hand-held Camera

    Invention of the First Hand-held Camera
    In 1888 George Eastman patented the hand-held box camera which used roll film containing a 100 exposure of roll of paper stripping film and the entire camera was sent back to the manufacturer for developing, printing, and reloading with a new film. The roll film was also the basis for the invention of the motion picture film, used by early filmmakers Thomas Edison, the Lumiere Brothers, and Georges Méliès.