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General Rule: The thinner mats and preservers date to late 1850s.
The preserver was first used around 1847, and it became a standard part of cased images.
A few simple observations can help narrow the timeframe of an image.
Mats give us some wonderful clues as to a daguerreotype's (and ambrotype's) original date.
The different parts of the daguerreotype each provide date clues.
This complete package was then placed into a wooden or thermoplastic case for protection and presentation.
An exploded and assembled view of a ca 1850 daguerreotype.
Early preservers were fairly plain, usually adorned with simple patterns.
The preserver was prone to breaking at the corners.