Lonis Jacques Maude Daguerre, one of the inventors of the process called after his name, born at Cormeilles, department of Seine-et-Oise, France, in 1789, died at Petit-Brie-sur-Marne, July 12, 1851. He commenced his career in Paris as a scene painter, and rivalled the best of his contemporaries in the brilliancy and novelty of his effects. Having assisted M. Prevost in painting his panoramas of Rome, London, Naples, and other great cities, he conceived the idea of heightening the effect of such views by throwing colored lights and shadows upon them, so as to produce the various changes of the day and season. This invention, called the diorama, was perfected by Daguerre and Bouton in 1822, and for many years the former was busily employed in preparing pictures for exhibition in the buildings erected for that purpose in Paris and London. In 1839 he sustained a great loss by the burning of his establishment in Paris. Several years previous Joseph Nice-phore Niepce and Daguerre had each begun independently to make experiments for the purpose of discovering a method of obtaining permanent facsimile copies of objects by the chemical action of the sun. A process by which that result could be obtained having been discovered by Niepce, he and Daguerre, on Dec. 14, 1829, united to develop and perfect it.
After the death of Niepce in 1833 Daguerre prosecuted his researches alone, and made such great improvements in the process that Niepce's son consented that the invention should be known by Daguerre's name only, instead of the names of both, as had been agreed. The invention was announced at the session of the academy of sciences in January, 1839, by Ara-go, and excited a profound interest, which was heightened by the exhibition soon after of a number of pictures taken by the new process. The same year Daguerre offered the French government to make the invention public for an annuity of 4,000 francs to Niepce's son and one of equal amount to himself. The offer was accepted, but Daguerre's annuity was made 6,000 francs upon his agreeing to make public also such information as he possessed in regard to dioramas and any further improvements he should make in the daguerreotype. He was also made an officer of the legion of honor, of which he was previously a member. To the close of his life he continued to labor on the improvement of the daguerreotype.
His His-torique et description des procedes du daguerreotype et du diorama (1840) passed through many editions, and was translated into English. (See Photogeaphy).