ILFORD Craftsman, 1949

A twin lens reflex style box camera introduced early autumn of 1949.

In the British Journal Photographic Almanac for 1950, an Ilford advert says "confidently expected to enhance the high reputation which Ilford Limited have built up during the past 70 years for an irreproachable standard of quality."

Click on the booklet cover to the left to see a pdf file of the Craftsman instructions. This is a 5MB file, so be patient while it downloads.

"The Ilford Craftsman camera is of the brilliant reflex finder type (showing an almost full-size image). It can be used with either 20 or Z20 size roll film (otherwise known as 120 and 620 respectively) and takes 12 pictures 2¼" square.

It is a solidly made camera of shock-resistant plastic having the exterior grained to give the appearance of leather panels. It is of pleasing appearance and simple to operate, and whilst in the low/medium price range has features usually only to be found in higher priced cameras.

The lens, consisting of two cemented components (hence presumably an achromatic doublet), works at 2 apertures, f9 and f18, set via the lower RHS front knob, and the focussing range is from 4ft to infinity, set by rotating the lens mount. The shutter is of the 'Everset' type and has 3 settings, 1/25th s, 1/75th s and B (brief time exposure), set via the lower LHS front knob. There are built-in flash contacts. All controls are conveniently placed for ease of working."

'Ilford News' of summer 1953 says "a special 'Craftsman' Flash lead is available and is the work of seconds to attach to the connections on the Envoy Flash Gun. The camera is then capable of making synchronised flash portraits and groups or, alternatively, the 'bulb' shutter setting can be used with the Ilford Open Flash Holder."

The Craftsman's flash lead shared the same shutter synchronisation connector with the Advocate.

The price was £7.10s.6d, ever ready case £2.1s.3d extra (£7.53p & £2.06p respectively). The price of £7.10s.6d (includes £2.5s.6d Purchase Tax) remained the same at December 1951 but by the summer of 1953 the price had been reduced (see 'Ilford News') to £6.19s.2d (£6.96p).

The image alongside and the two below are by courtesy of Patrick Neale. They were taken by Carl Mohajer.

Patrick understands that the Craftsman camera was supplied in a wooden box, as shown here, and issued to police forces for use at crime scene investigations.

This Craftsman looks to be in very good condition so perhaps didn't see much "active service". Even the original rolls of Ilford film are still in place.

Ilford sold a filter mount especially sized for the Craftsman.
According to the price pencilled on the box, it was sold for 8s.8d (43p).

It took 31mm colour filters (or close-up lenses) that had to be purchased separately. The one inserted here is a Nebro 1.5x yellow, which was priced at 5s.9d (29p) in 1954 (made from Chance optical glass). The filter fits into the mount by releasing, temporarily removing, and then re-inserting, the spring wire 'clip' visible in the pictures below.

The filter mount seems sized to fit a 33mm lens surround (presumably the Craftsman lens surround size).

My thanks to David Muggleton for loaning me this item to photograph and show here.

Note the removeable spring clip to allow insertion of 31mm filters.

This page last updated: 10th November 2010