Louis Daguerre 224th birthday marked by Google Doodle
A Google Doodle has been created to honor Louis Daguerre, who devised the daguerreotype, the first successful form of permanent photography.
The search engine's home page honors the French physicist, who developed the process for transferring photographs onto silver-coated copper plates.
In the mid-1820s, Daguerre was looking for a way to capture permanent images that he saw in his camera – a large box with a lens on one end that shined an image on a frosted sheet of glass at the other. But nailing the chemistry took a lot of work.
First, he invented the Diorama in 1822, which was used to showcase theatrical painting and lighting effects.
In 1826, fellow Frenchman Joseph Nicéphore Niépce took a photograph of a barn, but the process took an eight-hour exposure. Daguerre formed a partnership with Niépce, according to the Franklin Institute, and ten years later learned how to permanently reproduce the same image in only twenty minutes.
His discovery was made by an accident, according to the writer Robert Leggat, who said Daguerre put an exposed plate in a chemical cupboard in 1835 only to later find it have developed a latent image.
Daguerreotype photography was born. (The name, of course, refers to Daguerre himself.) Each unique photographic image was made on a silver-coated sheet of copper exposed to iodine, developed in heated mercury fumes, and fixed with salt water.
Using Daguerre's photography method, naturally-moving subjects needed to remain completely still because the long exposure would take several minutes to allow the slower process to be able to capture – and focus on – the image.
The new process was unveiled at the French Academy of Sciences in Paris in 1839.
It became the first commercially successful was of getting permanent images from a camera.
The Google Doodle, marking Daguerre's birthday of November 18, 1787, features a traditional image of an early family photograph with the heads of the figures in the image replaced with the letters that spell out Google.