Ilford Envoy

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The Ilford Envoy was an slightly unusual Bakelite box[1] camera sold by Ilford from c.1953-1960. The Envoy was made in Birmingham, UK for Ilford by Photo Developments Ltd. The camera featured a curved film plane, which compensated for some of the deficiencies of the cheap lens, and (like several Ilford cameras of the period) could take both 620 and 120 film spools. To load the film, a catch in the base rotated, the top was removed carrying the spools and film guides, leaving the bottom box with the shutter and lens.

There were three style revisions. There was a resemblance to Kodak's Six-20 Bull's Eye and (to a lesser extent) the metal-bodied Six-20 Flash Brownie - the last Envoy revision, with a side-mounted carry strap, in particular.

The simple, single-speed shutter was synchronised for flash, with two contacts below the lens for the flashgun connection. The lens had two focus zones, 4-8ft and distant, marked "for faces - pull out + for places - push in" respectively.

There was a similarly named camera, the Envoy Wide Angle, made by the same Birmingham company - specially for wide-angle photography. This was a very different and much more sophisticated device.


  1. It says "Box Camera" on the box, see Maurice Fisher's site