First photograph of a solar eclipse

Daguerreotype of William Langenheim taken by Frederick Langenheim ca. 1848–50

Today in 1857, Frederick Langenheim took the first photograph of a solar eclipse. From the Metropolitan Museum website: “In 1841-42, William and Frederick Langenheim opened a daguerreotype studio in Philadelphia. Known for their technical innovations the former journalists were not the city’s first but were certainly its most celebrated photographers. The brothers pioneered a technique of hand-coloring daguerreotypes (1846), purchased Henry Talbot‘s United States patent for paper photography (1849), invented a system of making negatives and positives on glass (1848-50), and introduced stereoscopic photography to the American public (1850).

This mammoth plate daguerreotype is one of the very few to have survived. It served perhaps to advertise or promote the firm, a convincing example of the Langenheims’ professional mastery.”

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