The bankruptcy and reorganization of the old Ilford Imaging company in 2004–2005 led to two outcomes, one happy and the other unfortunate.
The happy result was that buyers were found for the Ilford businesses. Liquidation was avoided, and most of the existing Ilford product lines were saved.
The less-than-happy result was that the Ilford brand is now shared between two newly-independent companies, leading to a fair amount of confusion at the start, and even more now that the two successor companies are competing directly and sharing similar "trade dress" inherited from the old Ilford Imaging.
So, as a TOP public service, and setting aside the arcane details of the company's reorganization, here's the scoop about who is selling what photographic products under the Ilford name today.
Ilford Imaging Switzerland, now wholly owned by Oji Paper of Japan, owns the Ilford factory in Marly, Switzerland, and holds general rights to the Ilford brand. It manufactures and sells Ilfochrome (formerly Cibachrome) materials for making traditional color prints from transparencies, as well as a wide range of inkjet papers under the Ilford brand.
Harman Technology Limited, a company created by former Ilford managers, owns the Ilford factory in Mobberley, U.K., along with the right to trade as Ilford Photo and to market black-and-white silver halide products under the Ilford name. Harman continues to manufacture Ilford black and white products, including Multigrade and Galerie black and white papers, in Mobberley. Harman has recently also introduced its own line of inkjet baryta photo papers under the Harman Inkjet brand, using materials and technology drawn from its traditional photographic products.
So, a recap for those scoring at home:
• Ilford, Switzerland (Japanese ownership), makes Ilfochrome (née Cibachrome) materials and Ilford inkjet papers;
• Harman, U.K., makes Ilford brand B&W materials and Harman inkjet papers.
If you want to buy a fiber-based inkjet paper with a look and feel similar to those of traditional Ilford black and white papers, and manufactured by the same company in the same factory, look for the Harman Inkjet brand. (It was one of these, Harman Gloss FB AL, that we nominated as our Photo Product of the Year yesterday.) Inkjet papers sold under the Ilford and Ilford Galerie brands are made in Switzerland, and have no relationship to the Ilford black and white product line, or to the Harman inkjet papers.
Mike (Thanks to the ghostwriter)