Daguerre's process was announced to the public in early 1839, and by the 1840s daguerreotypes were becoming common and the age of photography was underway.
The technology developed by Daguerre became obsolete by the 1860s.
Louis Daguerre, Inventor of the Process
Louis Daguerre was a landscape painter who became intensely interested in the idea of permanently saving visual images. A French scientist, Joseph-Nicéphore Niépce, had been experimenting with saving images by the use of chemical solutions, and Daguerre contacted him, hoping to find out the method.
Niépce eventually became Daguerre's partner, and when he died in 1833 Daguerre continued research on his own. It was not until the late 1830s that Daguerre came upon a method to permanently fix images he captured with his camera.
The Academy of Sciences in Paris announced Daguerre's successful invention on January 9, 1839. The idea that anything seen by the human eye could be preserved by a mechanical process was a startling scientific advance.
Spread of Daguerreotype Process
Daguerre wrote a manual for taking photographs, which was quickly translated into numerous languages. And scientists flocked to Paris to meet him and learn the method.
The American artist Samuel F.B. Morse learned the Daguerreotype process from Daguerre himself, and brought the knowledge back to American in 1840. He taught it to other Americans, including Mathew Brady, who would, within a few years, become so adept that he would open a Daguerreotype studio in New York City.
The Daguerreotype process was the dominant method of taking photographs throughout the 1840s. However, it had serious drawbacks and it was eventually superseded by the wet plate collodion process.
By the 1860s Daguerreotypes had already gone out of fashion. Many thousands of them had been shot and produced as prints, however, and they still exist to this day.