Kodak Petite 1929-34

Tomei Collection

The Kodak Petites appeared in June of 1929, available in gray, blue, green, rose, and lavender, and sold with a matching case.  There are a number of color combinations and special deco plates on the front door, several of which are uncommon and even rare.  All of these cameras were based upon the Vest Pocket Kodak Model B and took autographic 127 film (A127).  They were equipped with the Vest Pocket Rotary shutter and simple meniscus lens.  The bellows came in a variety of colors composed of an early material that proved to be fragile requiring replacement with basic black bellows in many cases.  The model was ultimately discontinued in 1934.

Here is an example of the blue camera with lavender-gray bellows and green diamond cover and matching case.  In this instance the bellows are in unusually good condition.





















Note:  Often these cameras are found with bellows that are stuck closed.  If forced open, they will likely tear and break because the old leatherette material has a tendency to form a sticky surface making the folds tightly adhere to one another after years of storage.  This can be easily remedied by removing the back of the camera and simply wetting the folded bellows with warm water for a few moments.  Just lay wet cotton balls or similar over the edges of the folded bellows taking care not to wet the shutter housing.  When the bellows material softens in about 10 minutes, they can be fully extended, gently wiped clean with a damp cloth and left to dry thoroughly. 

When dry the  exterior of the extended bellows can be treated with a very thin coat of bees wax and gently polished.  Do not use shoe polishes or any oils or leather treatments since they will cause the same problem.  The water will have dissolved the sticky surface of the bellows and will not produced any damage.  A very thin coat of pure bees wax dissolved in turpentine (not alcohol nor acetone!) will dry hard and not tend to be moist or sticky.  Remember, these bellows are not porous but are more like old fashioned linoleum.