This material was called thermoplastic, as the mixture was heated and then formed in dies.
The cases themselves were called 'union cases', not in reference to the 'Union' side of the civil war, but the union of different materials that were used in the composite.
In about 1859, preservers with reinforced corners and more elaborate artwork were introduced.
General Rule: An image with a preserver dates after 1847.
The best way to understand is to view the wide variety of images in the gallery.
(Spoilers) Once you start the game, you play through a simple minigame where you fling pizzas at little children until the whole game short circuits and you find yourself the owner of a new pizzeria that you have to decorate.
This complete package was then placed into a wooden or thermoplastic case for protection and presentation.
An exploded and assembled view of a ca 1850 daguerreotype.
Note: These were used with daguerreotypes, ambrotypes, and tintypes General Rule: Thermoplastic or Union case dates after 1856.
The daguerreotype is very easily detected, even by someone who has never seen one before.
It exhibits the characteristics of a mirror at many angles.
So it is important you understand the different pieces.
The daguerreotype was typically placed under a mat, which was covered with a piece of glass .
The image, case, or brass holder can be damaged easily.