Saturday, 30 July 2011

Concept: Cameras/ History of...ILFORD.

Sourced from the Wikipedia 'Ilford Photo' Page...Because I live dangerously...

Ilford Photo is a manufacturer of photographic materials known worldwide for its black-and-white film and papers and chemicals, as well as its range of Ilfochrome and Ilfocolor colour printing materials. Ilfochrome was formerly called Cibachrome, developed in partnership with the Swiss company CIBA-Geigy. Formerly, it published the Ilford Manual Of Photography, a comprehensive manual of everything photographic, including the optics, physics and chemistry of photography, along with recipes for many developers.

The company was founded in 1879 by Alfred Hugh Harman as Britannia Works. Initially making photographic plates, it grew to occupy a large site in the centre of Ilford. In 1902, it took the name of the town to become Ilford Limited, despite the objections of the local council.
In 1983, their UK headquarters was moved to Mobberley, Cheshire. In 1989, Ilford was acquired by the USA-based International Paper company, also owners of graphic arts materials manufacturer Anitec. The two companies were merged in 1990 to become Ilford Anitec. In 1996, the sales and admin offices were also moved from London to Mobberley.
In 2004, the company went into receivership. The UK site was subject to a management buyout, which resulted in the formation of Harman technology Ltd in February 2005. The company, now traded as Ilford Photo, produces high quality monochrome photographic products. The Swiss part of the company was bought by the Oji Paper Company of Japan in July 2005 and by Paradigm Global Partners LLP in May 2010. It produces inkjet products and high quality colour photographic products under the name Ilford Imaging Switzerland GmbH.


Ilford produced a number of cameras, starting with a 'box' camera in 1902, but most were made in the 1940s and 50s. The Ilford Witness was a rangefinder with interchangeable lenses announced in 1947, but not released until 1953 because of manufacturing difficulties. In the mean time, the simpler Advocate series 1 was released in 1949 and series 2 in 1952. A pre-release Advocate series 1 camera was given to Princess Elizabeth in 1948. It was stolen, but later recovered when it was sent to be repaired. Also released in 1949 was the Craftsman, a twin-lens reflex (TLR) which took 120 or 620 film. Then 1951 saw the Prentice folding camera which also took 120 film.
In 1957 Ilford released the Sportsman, a relabelled West German Dacora Dignette, as a lightly built and cheap 35 mm camera to compete with the better made and more expensive Kodak Retinette. In Germany, a comparative Dignette was about half the price of a Retinette, both coming from the Stuttgart - Black Forest area. The Sportsman became a series of camera models produced over the following 10 years. Finally, in 1958, Ilford released the Monobar, a monorail camera manufactured by Kennedy Instruments with a 35 mm back that resembled the earlier Advocate camera (which KI had also manufactured). The Monobar allowed the front (lens) and rear (film plane) of the camera to be moved and rotated, bringing the scheimpflug principle to the 35mm world.

Lab services

In January 2008 the Ilford Process and Print Service (formerly Ilford Premium Direct) was brought in-house to the manufacturing site in Mobberley, Cheshire, UK.
In February 2009 Ilford Photo re-launched the in-house black-and-white lab service as "Ilford Lab Direct". The mail order service offers black-and-white film processing and silver gelatin printing from film or from digital files. The launch saw the introduction of a dedicated website
In 2009 Ilford Lab Direct was awarded a Gold Award by Digital Photo magazine "Best online Black and White Printer"
In 2010 Ilford Lab Direct upgraded the range of print sizes up to and including 30x40 inch print capability.

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