Name Amon First

Ambrotype

The ambrotype is a direct positive monochrome photographic process. It is a wet collodion glass plate negative which when viewed against a dark background looks like a positive photograph. The choice of the term "ambrotype", from the Greek "ambrotos" meaning "imperishable" or "immortal", is probably linked to the durability of the glass base.

Although the first portraits made using this process were presented by Frederick Scott Archer in 1851, then by Adolphe Martin in 1852 under the name of "amphitype", the process was only patented under this name in 1854 by James Anson [Ambrose] Cutting. The patent states that a collodion direct positive is made on a glass plate hermetically sealed using Canadian balsam resin, a resin from Canadian fir trees.

Less expensive to produce than daguerreotypes and requiring shorter exposure times, ambrotypes were regularly used from 1854 up to the 1870s. It especially found favour in the United States, particularly with portrait photographers.

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