You can get an approximate date for a photograph if the photographer's name is on the front or back.A Google search can usually turn up information about the photographer (search for all of the information written on the photo: name, address, and the word photography).
Yesterday, after a friend posted something on Facebook, I realized that it is not a common skill. The photographic process was invented in France by Louis Daguerre in 1839.
I looked for a good guide to identifying photograph dates for my friend, but I couldn't find one I liked. That first type of photograph is called a daguerreotype, after its inventor.
So, with that said, here is a guide to figuring out when a photograph was taken (using all Waterbury and Waterbury-connected photos, of course! Only one image was made, developed directly on a glass plate, which was then placed in a protective case.
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Top row, engraved stems of clay pipes and oval lens from eyeglasses; middle row, brass uniform buttons dating to an 1850s to 1870s time period; bottom.
The large button, center, is labeled on back as "Scovill Mfg.
The cartridges appear to be (left and center) .50-70 caliber, for the early model Springfield "trapdoor" rifle and (right) .45-70 caliber, for the Model 1873 Springfield "trapdoor" rifle or carbine.
Daguerreotypes had a long exposure time, meaning that people had to hold still for several minutes to avoid looking blurry. Scovill produced cameras and other photographic equipment as Anthony & Scovill (later ANSCO) in the 1840s.
Daguerreotypes of street scenes don't show any people or animals, unless they happened to be standing still during the exposure time. Waterbury's Scovill Manufacturing Company was the first in the U. Scovill was the first to make molded “plastic” (a mixture of wood fibers and gum shellac) die-stamped cases for daguerreotypes in 1854. Group Photos During the first two or three decades of photography, getting your photo taken was a big deal.