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The first step in dating 19th century photographs is identifying which technology was used to create the picture.

This is straightforward detective work for most images, but very early photographs can be misleading.

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As the popularity of the cabinet card rose, it began to dictate style to the waning carte de visite.

The earliest cabinet portraits, introduced in 1866, were a larger version of the plain Bristol board carte de visite stock with the usual gilt borders.

There has not been as much research on the cabinet card styles as on the carte de visite styles, therefore they may be more difficult to assess.