Ilford Roll Head Printer


llford launched their Roll-Head contact printer in 1951. This was the first roll head printer to be manufactured in the UK. A photocell and electronic timer circuit determined printing exposure automatically. Saleable prints could be obtained using a relatively un-skilled operator. Black and white roll films could be printed in one strip and then the prints were dish processed in special long dishes. Keeping the prints in one strip meant much less sorting at the packing stage.

I believe Ilford manufactured this device themselves. Andy Holliman's book "Faces, People and Places. The Cameras of Ilford Ltd." Describes how his father Albert worked as works manager at Ilford's equipment factory in Leytonstone. A patent relating to this device was filed by Albert Holliman

in addition a patent by Robert James Hercock and Denis Manktelow Neale I believe also relates to this device.

Contact papers for these machines were available in rolls in a selection of grades of contrast. Finishers at the time believed that a wide variety of contrast grades was necessary to print the wide range of negative contrasts that were around. Most of these variations in contrast were due to inconsistent film processing methods by the finishers.

The Ilford Roll-Head Printer was still listed in the 1961 Ilford Professional Catalogue where it was priced at £120. By 1961 it would have been rather out of date.

I am grateful to Maurice Fisher and David Muggleton for the scan of a page in the Ilford 1955 catalogue that can be see by clicking here. By 1955 the machine is designated as Series 2.