stick a cabinet in your pocket

A Cabinet card c1883

Toronto. With the advent of wet plate technology, the number of photographers increased once again. Albumen paper for positive prints became very popular in spite of the need to glue down the curl-prone medium to stiff cardboard. The so called Carte-de-Visite (CdV) format of oversize “business” or “visiting” cards with photos became the rage. People collected prints of the famous as well as family and added them to fancy albums.

By the mid 1860s, the fad had run its course and photographers looked for new ways to earn money. One idea was to increase the size of the photograph and card to a bit over 4×6 inches – the Cabinet card, intended to be placed on top of a cabinet or table for display to visitors. Cabinet cards were invented in Britain in 1866 and became popular the following year (1867) (which coincidentally, was the year our country was established in reaction to the American civil war).

The example here comes from Pinterest. The photographer, Károly Koller, took it in Budapest in 1883. It is one of a number collected by Kathy Moore and considered by Ms Moore as the best of the genre.

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