ILFORD Prentice

The Ilford Prentice folding camera, taking 8 pictures 2¼"x3¼" on 120 roll film, was manufactured for Ilford by Kershaw-Soho (Sales) Ltd; of 37-41 Mortimor Street, London. Kershaw had introduced their 'Eight-Twenty Penguin' camera in 1949 priced £5.2s.9d (£5.14p), carrying case 18/- (90p), monochrome film to suit, priced typically 2s.7d (13p). The Prentice was a version of the Penguin made by Kershaw for Ilford and appeared in 1950~1951. The camera to the right, above, is an early Kershaw Penguin. The Prentice was modelled on the later version of the Penguin which also had the plunger type shutter release, rather than the small LH side mounted release visible (red dot in the centre) on the early Penguin.

The 'i' visible at the top centre of the lens surround in the picture alongside, shows that the shutter is set for its 'Instantaneous' speed, as distinct from its 'Bulb' shutter setting. To change between the two, rotate the black plastic lens surround. The plunger shutter release is to the upper left of this suround. Behind the release is the radial focussing slider, set at INF(inity) in the picture (moves to the right for its closest 6ft setting). Projecting from the right hand side of the lens surround is the lever which switches between the Prentice's two apertures. The lever is spring loaded and moves between the two settings with a satisfying 'click'.

A pdf file of the Prentice user manual can be viewed by clicking the image.  Be patient as the file is 2.75MB.
The Prentice, as the Penguin, was made of pressed steel sheet finished in attractive and wear resistant black crackle enamel and quality chrome plated side struts. The fixed aperture lens was focussed by a lever above the lens which operated a helical movement with 3 marked positions, 6ft, 10ft and infinity. The shutter, in common with the later style Penguin and its successor the King Penguin, provided just two speeds, I(nstantaneous) and B(ulb), obtained by rotating the lens surround. A shutter speed indicator was visible in an opening above the lens and also on a scale viewable from above. The viewfinder was a rather small and awkward waist level reflex design.

The earlier style Penguin also had a T(ime) shutter setting, whereby the shutter stayed open permanently until closed by releasing it again by using a second 'catch' on the RHS of the lens mount (viewed from the front). It may be that, over the few years between the first style Penguin being designed and the Prentice / 2nd style Penguin coming onto the market, Kershaw recognised that Time shutters were no longer required for simple amateur use, especially with increasingly fast film speeds, so left it off for economy reasons.

History of Kershaw

Amalgamated Photographic Manufacturers Ltd., London was formed in 1921 (as APM 1921) and brought together seven British companies. In 1928 four of these seven, all being the ones who made sensitised materials, became APeM Ltd (Amalgamated Photographic Equipment Manufacturers) and subsequently became part of Ilford, Ltd (though Rotary had already joined with Rajar in 1917).

APM 1921 (the original seven companies) comprised:
Kershaw Optical Co Ltd; A Kershaw & Son Ltd;
Marion & Foulgar Ltd;
Rotary Photographic Co Ltd; Rajar Ltd;
Paget Prize Plate Co. Ltd;
Marion & Co. Ltd

In 1928, Kershaw Optical Co Ltd, A Kershaw & Son Ltd and Marion & Foulgar Ltd became Kershaw-Soho Ltd.
They later became part of the J Arthur Rank Organisation.

This page last updated: 24th June 2020 (previously15th April 2008)