Presto

1920s
About This Pen

The Presto is one of those interesting pens that appears only periodically and about which there isn’t a lot of definitive knowledge. It is a deep black 1920s American pen, that can be easily seen by its flat-top style, riveted clip, j-bar, and size: it’s a full 5 ½” long capped and ½” wide just below the cap. One has to think this was made to emulate the large Sheaffer flat-tops. Posted, which I never recommend, it’s more than 6 ½” long. (It’s large inside, too…took a 20 sac!) When I pull a pen I don’t know about or remember from the depths of my box, I always try to keep and test my first impression: the Presto’s first impression was that it wasn’t celluloid, was too thick and didn’t show the typical microscratches of old celluloid. The thickness of its barrel told me this had to be Bakelite, a hard and resistant synthetic resin formed of formaldehyde and phenol that was widely used in the 1920s and 1930s for knobs, small appliances and, interestingly, replaced hard rubber in electrical supplies. Searching about Prestos divulged several posts by respected pen people, noting that Prestos were indeed made of Bakelite. All of that said, it cleaned up very nicely, and shows only some minor, light scratching in a few areas. Under strong light, some marking from the original machining process is apparent. The trim is gold-filled (imprinted on the Presto clip). There is no barrel imprint; its identity as Presto is only seen on the clip. The lever is printed “Nupoint”, which is not meaningful to me. The nib is marked “Warranted 14k”, and “8”, and it appears to fit the size designation. The nib does not have a great deal of tipping, but it writes very nicely, a fine/medium with a bit of flex. It’s an unusual, very attractive flat-top pen for a writer with a larger hand; it’s quite sturdy and will withstand regular use.

This pen is not for sale.