W. & F. Langenheim

Entity Type:
Organization
Identifier:
ENT.000001444
Date Range:
1841/1874
Biography:
Brothers William and Frederick Langenheim became two of the first successful commercial photographers in America. Both were born in Germany--in 1807 and 1809, respectively--and immigrated to the United States as young men. By the early 1840s, Frederick and his brother had opened a portrait studio in Philadelphia at the Mercantile Exchange. Many prominent Americans, including President John Tyler, sat for them. Frederick operated the camera and produced photographs; William worked as business manager.
The brothers initially practiced the daguerreotype process but were induced to purchase the rights to use William Henry Fox Talbot's calotype process. They not only ran a successful portrait studio but also helped pioneer several photographic advancements in the United States: the use of glass negatives and positives to make prints and projections, and the calotype process to make stereo images. They were the first photographers to travel around the United States making and selling popular tourist views. After William's death in 1874, Frederick sold the business. He died five years later.
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