The KI Monobar camera was originally launched in 1954 by Kennedy Instruments Ltd of Balham, London. The camera had been jointly designed by practising medical photographers, Charles Engel and Dr Peter Hansell and it was originally intended for medical work. The BJP reported: 'All told this specialist camera is a beautifully made job of high precision. The finish is white stoved enamel, polished stainless steel, and matt black plastic or metal on the internal and external surfaces where reflection must be avoided. All the locking knobs are of generous size for easy handling, and the focusing movement is smooth and easy. The price of the camera without lens or film magazine but with lens panel drilled to desired size is £100 0s 0d'.
Kennedy Instruments became a wholly owned subsidiary of Ilford Ltd and in 1958 the KI Monobar camera was re-launched. The camera was sold under both the Kennedy and Ilford name although it retained the KI Monobar name. The camera was aimed squarely at the professional market and was a fully-featured 35mm. monorail technical camera made in a brushed alloy metal and distinctive Kennedy cream enamel finish. The camera was sold with a range of standard monorail accessories including film backs, bag bellows and monorail extension.
Two models were available, the type U and type F. The U was the fully specified camera with a full range of camera movements, interchangeable lenses and fitted focusing magnifier unit which the advertising brochure claimed 'makes applied photography simple and precise'. The F was a simplified version of the U and was designed for special applications such as photomicrography where a full range of camera movements was not necessary. The lenses, bellows and film magazines were fully interchangeable between the two models. This difference was reflected in the retail price of £180 0 0d and £120 0 0d respectively.
Although specialised in its use the camera was popular and many remain in use today.