Photo Types in the late 1800s


Photo-CDVA very common type of photo produced in the 19th century were carte-de-viste (CDVs). They were first introduced in the 1850s in Paris, France by Andre Adolphe Eugene Disderi. CDVs became very popular in both the United States and Europe until the turn of the 20th century.

The method to identify a CDV is by size first. They run 4 inches by 2 ½ inches and are backed with cardboard. The studio photographer placed his mark on the front at the bottom or on the back. Also most CDVs were portraits; of one person, a couple or small group. Image taken in a studio with props. Battle scenes with many people were not done as carte-de-viste.

Since most CDVs were done between 1860 and 1890, once identified as CDV you have a date range.

Another type of photo was a cabinet card. Photo-Cabinet They were larger in size, generally about 6 ½ by 4 ¼ inches. They started appearing about 1866 and were albumen-coated, card-mounted photographs. With these cabinet cabinet cards the professional photographer really embellished the back of the card with their logo and name, covering the full back. They were popular from 1870 to the late 1890s, again in a studio with props used.

In the mid-1800s were the smaller tintypes. photo-tintypeAlso known as a melainotype or ferrotype, they were produced on a plate of thin metal. This method didn’t use negatives and was directly exposed in the camera. Being smaller, usually 2 ½ by 3 ½ they were set into a small case, easy to carry in a pocket. They remained popular from 1856 to 1900.

Photos: Examples of CDV, Cabinet card and Tintypes.

Related genealogy blogs:

Panoramic Photos

Cost of 19th Century Photos

Novelty Photos


< Return To Blog

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.