Plate Drying Rack

The wet collodion process largely replaced the daguerreotype process by 1861. A viscous solution produced by dissolving guncotton in ether and alcohol, collodion could be poured onto a glass plate, which was then immersed in silver nitrate to make it light sensitive and inserted into a camera with a cap over the lens to prevent exposure. The photograph had to be taken while the collodion was still wet. The image on the glass plate was a negative, which the photographer could keep or discard by scraping off the collodion. This plate drying rack was used during the wet collodion process.
Currently not on view
Object Name
rack, plate
date made
ca 1906
overall: 20 1/2 in x 6 1/2 in x 7 in; 52.07 cm x 16.51 cm x 17.78 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Civil War
See more items in
Culture and the Arts: Photographic History
Civil War
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center


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