What is Wet Plate

The Wet Plate Collodion photographic process was invented in the 1850's.  It was the process used during the civil war and by the early wild west explorers and documenters.  Portraits were made of Abraham Lincoln, Billy the Kid, Generals Grant, Custer, and Lee with this technique.  The earlier type was called an ambrotype, a wet plate image on glass.  The tintype followed which was a wet plate image on metal.

Called "Wet" because the whole process is done while wet with chemicals.  The emulsion is applied, then exposed, developed and fixed all before it got dry.