The description on ebay states that the Petie Vanity camera was “housed inside a ladies powder compact case” which of course means it’s a camera that doubles as a make-up kit. Those metal tubes are not for film, but lipstick. It gives a new meaning to the term ‘compact camera’. The Petie is almost a James Bond gadget and was it was made in West Germany during the Cold War. I guess that makes sense – my father’s name for make-up was “war paint”.
The Petie was a mid-fifties product, not thirties Art Deco as it first looks. The camera side was very basic with a fixed 1/50th shutter speed and fixed aperture. Focus was also fixed, so it’s really a toy, and the 17.5mm film format didn’t help with picture quality. This format was 35mm film split down the middle and backed with paper like 120 film. This is definitely a strange story.
It was not the only Petie made either, there were many different cameras under that badge, including a cigarette lighter version and a music box version, it’s a real class act. You can see more about the Petie on www.submin but you can buy it on ebay for $2500.
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The go-anywhere forerunner of the modern camera-phone?