Daguerreotypes reigned from 1839 through the 1850s. In this first period of photography, millions of daguerreotypes were made of almost any subject on which light would shine, from street corner scenes to the Acropolis. All the major cities and tourist destinations were daguerreotyped, but the new process had its most revolutionary impact in portraiture. Before the nineteenth century, only the wealthy had the means to act on the desire to commemorate their likenesses. Industrial-age products, like the physionotrace and the camera lucida, had begun to expand the picturemaking process, but the daguerreotype was the great equalizer, providing ordinary people with access to pictures of themselves and their loved ones. Whether a commissioned portrait or a genre picture, before the daguerreotype it was unusual for servants and tradespeople-say, laundresses-to have been individually commemorated. For the first time, everyday people could now make their own visual history, collecting images that said: “This is minemy family, my house, my dog, my trip to Niagara Falls.” Commercial, industrial, and scientific applications rapidly followed. By the 1850s, a new information age was underway as millions of daguerreotype portraits and “views,” as outdoor scenes were called, began circulating all over the world.