The first photographers’ equipment

From the moment Arago presented the Daguerre process at the Académie des Sciences et Beaux-arts Réunies on the 19th of August 1839, a memorable meeting according to people who were present at the time, “opticians shops were flooded with keen amateurs, who had just seen a daguerreotype”. Daguerreotype demonstrations were arranged for the public, who were able buy a full set of equipment at various opticians. This type of kit cost around 300 to 400 Francs, or 100 days’ wages for the average working class person, if not more. Making daguerreotypes or calotypes was the preserve of well-to-do, sophisticated amateurs…

Together with other publications, “Le Magasin pittoresque” of 30 November 1839 gave a detailed description of the process, and daguerreotyping quickly broke down barriers, achieving notable popularity in the United States.

These three pieces of equipment for full plate, half-plate and quarter-plate formats existed thanks to Jules-Gustave Schiertz, a cabinetmaker and photographic equipment specialist based at 29, rue de la Huchette in Paris. In 1844, during an exhibition of French-made photographic equipment, this manufacturer received a bronze medal for the quality of his cameras and accessories.


Drawer chamber for full-plate daguerreotype made by Jules-Gustave Schiertz approx. between 1840 and 1845. N° d’inv. 15173.01 / Collection du Musée suisse de l’appareil photographique.