After the success of the Daguerreotype, and as the interest in capturing and preserving images continuously rose, man sought to develop a way to produce multiple copies of the same image. And thus, the collodion process was born.
The collodion process, more commonly known as the wet plate process, was invented in 1851 by Frederic Scott Archer. It is a simple process of coating a clean glass plate with a special mixture of bromide, iodide, or chloride dissolved in collodion, and then placing the plate in a silver nitrate bath. The image is exposed upon the plate while it is wet, and then immediately set to develop.
The process proved to be a bit of a challenge at first, given that it should be done – from coating to developing — well before the glass plate dried, but it also became an advantage because this made it a much quicker process than making a daguerreotype. And since the image produced on the glass plate is a negative, it allowed people to create multiple copies of the same image.
These very reasons allowed the collodion process to completely replace the daguerreotype as the photographic process of choice by the end of the 1850s.
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