Chevalier 'Le Grand Photographe' folding camera, c 1840.
© National Media Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
This daguerreotype camera was manufactured in France by Charles Chevalier (1804-1859), within a year of the discovery by Louis Daguerre (1789-1851) of the first practicable photographic proces. Its most interesting features are the hinged side panels which allow the camera to be collapsed down to a convenient flat package for transport and quickly re-erected for use. The earliest cameras were almost all rigid sliding box instruments which were bulky and awkward to transport. This camera represents the first attempt by a camera maker to produce a folding camera to overcome this problem.