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KAMKAP

Kamkap Toy Typewriter at Type-Writer.org

A most elegant design

The Kamkap is one of those machines you wish came in an adult package. Sleek and elegant, it’s a beauty to behold, but only pint-sized — my adult fingers struggled to find the keys. Yet the Kamkap stands out in that it so closely resembles an adult typewriter. A child must have felt very “grown up” receiving one of these — “This ain’t no toy!” reads one advertisement.

Interesting enough, collector Richard Polt notes that there is a near equivalent of the Kamkap, called the Byron (see post and photos here), but this might simply be a case of “separated at birth.”

Manufactured in England, the Kamkap was introduced in 1956 and sold through 1958, at a variety of retailers, including Sears. Initially, it was priced at around $30.

Kamkap Toy Typewriter

Despite being a reasonable facsimile of an adult typewriter, the Kamkap is nonetheless a toy. The typing action and alignment are not solid, being what one would expect from a toy. That said, it is a serviceable machine. It offers shifting for figures and symbols, and the italicized, sans serif font is pleasing to the eye. A child could type a report on it.

One interesting feature is the finger rest key above the right shift key (see photos below). This non-operational key seems to function as a “place-holder” for touch typing.

Kamkap offered optional carrying cases: a leather satchel or a hard case. Mine came with the hard case.

The Kamkap and the Petitie side by side

Click to enlarge. Image from the Sept. 2005 edition of ETConline.

Sometimes called the “Super DeLuxe Model” or the “Revere,”1 the Kamkap was manufactured by Petite in Nottingham, England. A very similar looking machine, called the Petite, was also offered in 1956. That machine has fewer features and is more brightly colored. On that note, it is interesting to observe that subsequent machines from Petite were more child-friendly, looking more and more like toys than real typewriters.

Regarding the location of the serial number, I did find one marking: 14ML11 — near the draw cord line (see photo below). This is either the serial number or else a casting mark.2

Kamkap Toy Typewriter Side

Service manual

Click on images to enlarge. You can also download a PDF of the manual here.

Kamkap Manual 01

Kamkap Manual 02

Kamkap Manual 03

Kamkap Manual 04

Kamkap004

Typing sample

The rubber on the platen is hard, so typing out this sample was a bit of a challenge. What I can say is that the all-caps font is very appropriate for a child’s typewriter: playful, yet acceptable for academic work. The sans serif font is italicized, but quite readable. The keyboard is certainly designed for a child’s fingers (small and compact).

Kamkap Typewriter typing sample

Photos

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9″ carriage accommodates a full sheet of paper.

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“Finger Rest” is a non-operational key. A placeholder for touch typing?

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An all-caps machine. Shift is for figures and symbols.

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Typewriter made in England; spools made in America.

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What a profile.

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Patents label.

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Made in Nottingham, England.

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Stamped metal, corners bent inward.

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Paper table moves.

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Resting.

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A view from down under.

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Serial number or casting stamp?

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Located on the underside, near the side of the machine.

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A handwritten “3” on the inside.

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The case was optional, either a hard case (pictured) or a satchel.

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Just like mom or dad’s!

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Like the typewriter, case looks like an adult product.

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Looks solid, but made of insubstantial materials. This one is nicely preserved.

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Typewriter is not entirely secure in case, but this metal piece anchors it somewhat.

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Lined with paper.

Advertisements

The Morning Herald, Uniontown, Pennsylvania, Nov 16, 1956

The cuter Petite and the Kamkap “Super-Deuxe Model.” From The Morning Herald, (Uniontown, Pennsylvania), Nov, 16, 1956.

1956-Sears-Christmas-Book-page215

From the 1956 Sears Christmas Wishbook, curtesy Wishbook.com.

The Bridgeport Post, Bridgeport, Connecticut, Oct 23, 1957

Hand-drawn typewriter scarcely resembles the “Kam-Kap.” From The Bridgeport Post (Bridgeport, Connecticut), Oct 23, 1957.

The Sandusky Register, Sandusky, Ohio, Nov 8, 1957

“This ain’t no toy!” From The Sandusky Register (Sandusky, Ohio), Nov 8, 1957.

The Kansas City Star, Kansas City, Missouri, Dec 10, 1957

The Kamkap, called the “Revere” in this advertisement. Not sure why. From The Kansas City Star, Kansas City, Missouri, Dec 10, 1957, placed by Gorman’s.

1957 Sears Christmas book page240

Actual size? Not sure I would submit that type sample to TypewriterDatabase.com. (Poor kid has a year-old typewriter!) From the 1956 Sears Christmas Wishbook, curtesy Wishbook.com

The Bridgeport Post, Bridgeport, Connecticut, Dec 10, 1958

The last ad I could find for the “KamKap.” From The Bridgeport Post (Bridgeport, Connecticut), Dec. 10, 1958.

Additional reading

© 2014, Mark Adams. All rights reserved.

  1. One wonders if the “Revere” was yet another Kamkap typewriter, as it was offered at $59.99 (list) and $39.88 (sale). However, based on the small image I’ve found for the Revere, it does appear to be the same machine. []
  2. See Polt’s comment. []
{ 4 comments… add one }
  • Richard P March 19, 2014, 6:58 pm

    Excellent report!

    My Revere is identical to the Kamkap, and has the same cast number.

    The Byron Mark I is a much larger, very grown-up typewriter, but the similarity in design and identical paint are notable. The two were definitely made by the same company.

    • Robert Messenger March 19, 2014, 10:41 pm

      Yes, as I have pointed out in posts on my Kamkap and other Petite typewriters, Petite was a brandname of Byron Jardine, which was taken over by Dobson Park industries. The Jardines took over the Bar-Lock factory (built 1919) from the Richardsons in 1925.

  • Jessica December 10, 2014, 12:19 pm

    I just found a Petite in my attic. We bought this home in 2010. Home was built in the 40’s, I believe. I know absolutely nothing about typewriters so thank you for the information! I love how it just has letter keys. I’m definitely holding on to this. I wish I had more pieces of simpler times. People tell me I have an old soul. I’m 35. 🙂 Have a good day!

  • Janet February 22, 2017, 8:04 pm

    I have a kamkap mini give to us it has to be at least 50 years old. Is it worth anything?

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