K.K.W. Camera Lighter, 1948

The K.K.W. Camera Lighter was first manufactured in 1948 in Occupied Japan. Primely it was available as a wick lighter - in 1958 the butane version of the lighter was introduced (see picture) and manufactured till the end of the 1960s. The camera lighter was available with a compass on front and without which was a cheaper version. 

It is for sure one of the best examples of Japanese craftsmanship. It is very well detailed and the materials used are good quality. The shutter button works the lighter and it can be locked by using the red button on the front which is marked open - lock. Spare flints can be kept under the large nurled knob on top.

The camera lighter is in the shape of a camera and was designed for both table and pocket as the tripod and cable release can be easily unscrewed. The body was made of metal with black crackle finish and polished metal trim. It was only available as a set: lighter, cable release and camera lighter.

Marked on the bottom of the camera lighter:


On the earlier wick lighter version the camera and the tripod were marked:

Made in Occupied Japan

The plastic cover was marked: Peace-Gas (gas lighter) or Photo-Flash (wick lighter)

Type: gas (butane) lighter & wick (petrol) lighter

Scarcity: commonuncommon

Value for very good–mint condition (set): $40.00–75.00 (approx €30.00–55.00)

Weight: 75 grams (0.17 lbs), set: 97 grams (0.21 lbs)


Cigarette Lighter:
  • height: 4.1 cm (1.6")
  • width: 6.7 cm (2.6")
  • depth: 1.8 cm (0.7")
Lighter including tripod and cable release:

  • height: 2.0 cm (0.8")
  • width: 8.9 cm (3.5")
  • depth: 7 cm (2.8")


Anonymous said...

I have one of the earlier wick lighters. Does anyone know how to fuel it? I have added a flint and the mechanism will spark when opened, and a wick is still present, but I can't figure out where to add fuel.

Anonymous said...

The lens unscrews and you put the fuel in there

Anonymous said...

I have been a collector of lighters for many years but recently, due to ill health, decided to sell some. I put a couple on ebay, one of them a KKW camera lighter, to sell. Ebay removed them and said that it is against EU law to sell 'novelty' lighters. I was also informed that if I tried to sell any more I might be stopped from trading on ebay. I have since checked and found that novelty lighters are still being sold but ebay say that they cannot keep a check on everything sold on their site. I was wondering how this is going to affect collectors.

Sebastian said...

I have already noticed that the prices of some of the novelty lighters, especially these often represented in different books and magazine went up in Europe. One should though specify what exactly novelty for lighter means...

Anonymous said...

I have two of these lighters never used; still in the box. One has the instruction book, the ninety-day guarantee paper, and tripod. Neither have the cable release. Do you know if they all came with the cable release?

Sebastian said...

Good question, I assume that these lighters came out as a set (with tripod and cable release) and alone (without any of these). It would be bizarre to sell the cameras only with the tripod but I cannot tell for sure. Please take into account that the cable releases fitted just right to real cameras of the 40s, 50s or 60s and they could be used for this purpose which would explain why your lighters have no cable releases. But maybe the instruction book does mention the cable?

Anonymous said...

I've got one for sale. I decided to sell it when one was valued on BBC's Cash in the Attic for £65.
Never saw the actual sale though.
Mine is without cable, as I left it in my gadget bag when I sold my camera!

colin95 said...

does any one know how to replace the wick on one on these lighters

Anonymous said...

Unscrew the lens that is how mine worka

Anonymous said...

I've got one for sale with the original box, instruction paper, tripod and cable
contact me

Anonymous said...


I have one complete with tripod and cable which I would like to sell. I would much prefer it to go to a collector and therefore a good home. Please contact me on festeringdreads@hotmail.com.


Unknown said...

I have a camera-lite...anyone heard of it...it's a lighter with a camera in it with film...I have had a lot of offers just want to know the correct one...contact me 5012709905

Anonymous said...

I have a "Toyo" table top MIOJ camera lighter. Is it a knockoff?

Unknown said...

I know there is a echo camera lighter but u can do research on it before u try to sell it...don't let know one low ball u...make sure u know what u got

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