Joshua Billcliff

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Joshua Billcliff[1](born 1820 in Ingbirchworth, West Yorkshire, died 1899 in Chorlton on Medlock, Lancashire) of Manchester, UK, was a renowned camera maker. He made amazing types of wooden cameras. One specialty of his cameras were the revolving backs[2]. But the "half-plate" field camera shown left has some more exciting details like the bayonet-like lens mount and the easily removable lens standard slide. Billcliff's Multiple image camera[3] is another example of his ingeniousity.

Billcliff made cameras for others like Chapman, McKellen, Thornton and the ingenious camera and lens designer W.I. Chadwick[4]. He made the cameras which Chadwick had designed for the stereo photography revival of the 1890s.

All five sons of Chadwick became camera makers too.


  1. Joshua Billcliff
  2. Patent 13956 was issued on November 16th 1885 to Joshua Billcliff: "... Relates to an arrangement fitted to the back of the camera by which the slide that contains the sensitive plate may be rotated through a right angle, from a vertical to a horizontal position or vice versa without moving the camera. A circular opening, the edges A, A of which are flanged or rabbeted, is cut in the back B,B of the camera. On the plate holder are fixed corresponding flanged or rabbeted pieces C, C which fit into those on the back so as to bind them together. These latter rabbeted pieces may be those cut from the hole in the back reversed. ..." (Patent for the rotating camera back)
  3. Multiple image camera at
  4. W.I. Chadwick pdf (archived)