One of the most popular forms of 19th Century photography was the CdV. Short for “Carte de Visite”, the cdv was a process of French origin.
First patented by photographer André-Adolphe-Eugène Disdéri around 1854, they had a slow start. Around the turn of 1860, their popularity exploded.
The biggest draws to CdVs were: They were cheap, durable, and could be produced in mass. This set off “cardomania” across the globe, and even had a hand in turning photographs into a “collectible” item. CDVs were made of famous political figures, musicians, celebrities…you name it! These were a hot collectible commodity of the time.
The feature that make a huge difference between the CdVs competitors, like the Ambrotype and Tintype, is that it is an Albumen Print. Being a paper product made the mass production a lot more feasible and less costly. People could easily send the photos in the mail to loved ones, which also made it a popular format for soldiers during the American Civil War.
For more in-depth reading on CdVs, check our these great sources: