Cabinet Cards and CDVs

Cabinet cards and CDVs (carte de visite) are photographic images produced between 1859 and 1900. While there are earlier, and later, examples of each, these were the years of peak popularity. CDVs were patented in 1854 and fell out of popularity in 1870 in favor of the cabinet card.

Cabinet cards and CDVs essentially use the same photographic processes with printed photo paper being affixed to card stock. The primary difference between the two is size. Cabinet Cards measure 4 1⁄4 by ​6 1⁄2 inches while CDVs are 2.5 by 4 inches. CDVs were patented in 1884 and didn’t gain popularity until 1859. In 1870 the cabinet card became the dominant format.

Cabinet Cards



1859-1880s (popularity wanes with the introduction of the cabinet card in 1870).

Last updated 1/12/2019 by Christopher L. Jorgensen

Recent Posts

Two small children in matching dresses. One is standing in a chair, the other beside. The younger of the two appears to be a boy, the other a girl.…
Photo by Paeszler
A toddler in a lacy dress or over shirt. She has short curly hair and unevenly trimmed bangs. She appears to be sitting.
Photo by Urlin & Pfeifer
An older woman with her wavy hair pinned to her head and pulled back. She is wearing a dark dressed adorned with elaborate piping on either side of…
Photo by Fuller