History of photography

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Frederick Scott Archer - the inventor of the wet collodion plate

1849 - 1851

The Englishman started using collodion, which is based on gun cotton instead of albumin. He was a master of the calotype process, but was not satisfied with the texture and unevenness of the paper negative. The inventor experimented with different solutions and plates and was successful in 1849 when he coated a glass plate with a collodion solution and exposed it to light while it was still wet. The picture was unprecedentedly sharp. The drawback of this process was that he had to make the picture while the collodion was still wet, and develop it immediately after exposure.

The process was published in 1851 and this year marks the death of the daguerreotype process. The "ambrotype process" as he called it, was widely used across Europe until the end of the 1860s.

Frideric Scott Archer

Richard Leach Meaddox - invented the gelatine dry plates

1880

Maddox was an English physician and photography enthusiast who discovered a more useful use of gelatine, which was discovered only a few years before in photography. He bound the silver salts to the glass using gelatine instead of wet collodion as a medium. He reduced the exposure time to 1/25th of a second or less, which was sufficient for taking pictures without the use of a camera stand. It was Charles Bennet who made the first gelatine dry plate that could be sold. This was a revolutionary advance in photography. The gelatine dry plate was a simple process that greatly popularised photography and amateur activities related to it and by 1880 had completely replaced the wet collodion plates.

Richard Leach Maddox

George Eastman - introduced the first box camera

1847 - 1848

George Eastman, the founder of Kodak, is famous for having introduced the roll film in 1884. Photography was already popular in Eastman's time, but still quite unpractical for everyday use. His goal was to make photography accessible to everyone. In 1888, he patented a roll film box camera. Already in 1890, the Kodak Company launched on the market the first box camera which they had named the "Brownie", with their marketing phrase "You press the button, we do the rest". The Kodak Company thus introduced photography to the masses. The camera had a simple lens and inside it was enough roll film for one hundred pictures.

Photographers had to send their camera back to the factory where the paper was peeled off the film, which formed the basis for the emulsion, and developed it by transferring each negative onto a glass plate and contact copying it afterwards. The camera was then filled with a new roll film and sent back to the customer. The photographs had a diameter of 65 mm. Eastman opened a new world for popular photography but still lacked reproduction of colours.

George Eastman The first camera, the Brownie, was launched on the market in 1900 by Kodak
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