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Beginning about 1847, a brass frame called a 'preserver' wrapped around the taped assembly.
This complete package was then placed into a wooden or thermoplastic case for protection and presentation.
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The Daguerreotype in America Once the daguerreotype process was published in Paris in 1839, it spread rapidly to America.
Mats give us some wonderful clues as to a daguerreotype's (and ambrotype's) original date.
They changed significantly about three different times, with lesser evolutions along the way. The earliest ones had a 'pebble-like' texture, and were usually octagon or oval up to about 1845.
Early daguerreotypes were protected by only a mat and glass, and then placed in a case.
Early preservers were fairly plain, usually adorned with simple patterns.
Early cases were usually leather-covered wood cases. These were basically the only type of cases until the latter part of the 1850s.
Most clues are evident by just looking at the image. This is not recommended for the amateur or skittish.
The image, case, or brass holder can be damaged easily.
Note: These were used with daguerreotypes, ambrotypes, and tintypes General Rule: Thermoplastic or Union case dates after 1856.
Clothes, hair styles, and personal appearance changed significantly throughout the life of the daguerreotype.
Around 1856 a new composite made from saw dust and varnish was used to create the first plastic-like cases.