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Ilford Photo

Ilford Photo
Industry Photography
Founded 1879
Headquarters Knutsford, Cheshire
Products film, paper, chemicals
Ilford PAN F Black & white film

Ilford Photo is a manufacturer of photographic materials known worldwide for its black-and-white film and papers and chemicals, as previously as its range of Ilfochrome and Ilfocolor colour printing materials, before these were discontinued. 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.


  • History 1
    • Cameras 1.1
  • Products 2
    • Film 2.1
    • Film developers 2.2
    • Specialist products 2.3
    • Cameras 2.4
    • Paper 2.5
    • Paper developers 2.6
    • Fixers, toners and other chemicals 2.7
  • XP2 Super Development 3
  • Lab services 4
  • See also 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7


Logo of Ilford Ltd. from 1930s

The company was founded in 1879 by Alfred Hugh Harman as the Britannia Works Company.[1] 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.[2]

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 administration 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 produced inkjet products and high quality colour photographic products under the name Ilford Imaging Switzerland GmbH before being declared bankrupt on 9 December 2013.[3] On 14 September 2015, Ilford Photo announced that Harman Technology was acquired by Pemberstone Ventures Limited for an undisclosed amount.[4]


Ilford sold a number of cameras under its own name but made for it by other manufacturers, 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 meantime, 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.


XP2 Super Development

Unlike most other black and white films, XP2 Super can be processed in the same chemicals as colour print film (colour C41 Process). It produces a monochrome (black & white) negative, despite the development process.[5][6] [7]

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. the following year 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 The service has continued to expand offering Medium and Large format processing and Digital Black and white Lightjet prints.

In 2009, Ilford Lab Direct was awarded a Gold Award by Digital Photo magazine "Best online Black and White Printer".

In August 2013 Ilford Lab Direct US was launched, operating from California, US and offering a similar service to the UK operation.

See also


  1. ^ R J Hercock and G A Jones (1979), Silver by the Ton. A history of Ilford Ltd 1879-1979, London: McGraw-Hill Book Company (UK) Ltd, 1979.
  2. ^ "Ilford timeline". Ilford History and Chronology. Retrieved 2008-07-27. 
  3. ^ "La faillite d'Ilford Imaging a été prononcée (in French)". 20 Minutes. Retrieved 10/12/2013. 
  4. ^ "Iford Photo Press Room". Retrieved 2015-09-18. 
  5. ^ "Ilford XP2". Ilford. Retrieved 2012-03-22. 
  6. ^ "Boots XP2". Boots. 
  7. ^ "Jessops". Jessops. 

External links

  • ILFORD photo
  • HARMAN Technology
  • ILFORD Lab Direct
  • ILFORD Lab Direct US
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