I doubt there's a shortage of books about the history of photography or it's technology but I can only help you with some relatively old ones as I generally avoid books with ISBN's, ie post 1960. A few that I find quite interesting are listed below. The last book may or may not be the kind of thing you are looking for but worth mentioning, IMHO.
Originally Posted by Existing Light
The Science Museum Photography Collection by D. B. Thomas (Her Majesty's Stationary Office, London, 1969) is essentially a catalogue of the collection and seems quite comprehensive. It shows all kinds of related technology, cameras, lenses, shutters, processes etc from the very start of photography.
Victorian Photography by Alex Strasser (The Focal Press, London/New York, 1942) Having been written in 1942, is only 40 or so years away from the end of the period it's describing so it feels more genuine and real, and possibly (?) more accurate than anything written much later. It is specifically about the Victorian period of photography which includes the invention of photography and it's development during that period.
Photography To-Day by D. A. Spencer (Oxford University Press, London, 1943) This book is a real joy to read, possibly because it doesn't go into extensive detail about each and every subject whilst still being comprehensive. It's not a chemistry, optics or history book but it does cover almost everything to some degree.
Last edited by jjphoto; 09-17-2013 at 04:23 AM. Click to view previous post history.