Today we consume our information from the Internet, but the facts mostly originate from books (newspapers and magazines). Here I have summarised the known publications in which snippets can be found ... but they are not illuminating.


The Collector's Guide to Japanese Cameras (a.k.a. Sugiyama)

Published: 1985


I don't own a copy of Sugiyama, largely because the cost is ludicrous (between £106 and £1,013, plus £12 to £55 shipping)*. However, I have found Internet photographs of the relevant pages. One of these is the index, which list 35mm Beauty branded cameras to be found on pages 145 & 146. All the models are present, but the Lightomatic is referred to as the LM. Remarkably, I've also found an image of page 145, the format of which is a single picture of each model with a mere three or four lines of the most basic and generic information. 
The publication's entry at Camera-wiki says this book is acknowledged to be a major resource for McKeown's Guide, but contains mistakes that have been reproduced.


McKeown's Price Guide to Antique and Classic Cameras (a.k.a McKeown's)

Last published 2004


This is another hugely expensive, but large volume (from £268 to £491 plus £11 to £54 shipping for the 12th edition (2005-2006))*. I don't own a McKeown's either, but one of its lesser copies - the Hove International Blue Book (Millennium Edition), which doesn't list a single Beauty.

McKeown's follows the same format as Sugiyama, where a picture is accompanied by a short description. The sixth edition (1987-1988) is available online at the Internet Archive. Like Sugiyama, it offers no insights other than extremely basic data.

Also like Sugiyama, McKeown's is known for its errors and omissions. Its clear to see that the f/2.8 Canter in the illustration (right) is actually an f/1.9. The Canter, Super II and Super L are the only 35mm Beauties listed.


The History Of The Japanese Camera (Edited by Gordon Lewis)
Published: 1991

Neither do I have a copy of this book for the same reason: it retails for between £103 and £386, plus £20 to £55 shipping*. 

Lewis is frequently cited at Camera-wiki. In the specific context of Beauty cameras, the claimed bankruptcy of Taiyodo Koki comes from Lewis page 104. However, if you search Camera-wiki for "bankrupt", the vast majority of results also reference Lewis's page 104. I can therefore only assume that page 104 isn't much more than a list of lost manufacturers, and lacking in detail.
Again according to Camera-wiki, this book comprises sixteen chapters, each originating from an article by several authors, and supersedes a 1984 exhibition catalogue from the International Museum of Photography called, "the Evolution of the Japanese Camera". My expectation is therefore, if Lewis contains additional information on the cameras themselves, this would have been replicated from "the Evolution of the Japanese Camera".


The Evolution of the Japanese Camera (Philip Condax, etc)
Published: 1984

This is a book I do own (it retails for £12 upwards, plus £5 upwards for shipping)*. It's a potted-history of the major Japanese brands, and key stages in the evolution of camera technology.

It contains just a single reference to Beauty cameras, and records that Tomioka "developed a triplet called "Tri-Lausar" for cameras like ... the Beautycord S". 


* All prices quoted are from, and correct as of Christmas 2021.

Sugiyama page 145

Sugiyama page 145.

McKeown's page 412

McKeown's sixth edition page 412.

I would be very happy if anyone reading this page has a copy of "the History of the Japanese Camera", and would be kind enough to email me a scan of page 104 (and any other pages that mention Taiyodo Koki, or the Beauty Camera Company).


The Evolution of the Japanese Camera page 14.