Louis Daguerre was the inventor of the first commercially successful form of photography.
(After years of experimentation, he perfected Daguerreotype in 1839, the process involved exposing silver-coated copper plates to iodine, obtaining silver iodide. This was then exposed to light for a few minutes and coated with mercury vapour and fixed with salt water.
The French government 'acquired' Daguerre’s patent and, in August of that year, announced that the invention was a gift “free to the world”, but don't worry, Daguerre didn’t need to make money from his invention as he was pensioned by the French government in exchange for sharing the details of the process.)
PS - He has been honoured today with a Google Doodle to mark his 224th birthday.