The earliest, widely practiced form of photography. Invented by the Frenchman, Louis Jacque Mande Daguerre, they were introduced to the general public in 1839. Images were produced on a brighly polished silver plate which caused them to exhibit a mirror like quality. The daguerreotype was perhaps the most brilliant of early images with very wide tonal ranges with very rich blacks and bright whites. The peak years for the daguerreotype was in the 1840's and 1850's, with very few still being produced during the Civil War.