Oftentimes, when a company uses the word “deluxe” for a product it is to differentiate it from the more standard offerings of that business and denotes that this item is of a higher quality. And sometimes the word “deluxe” is simply a marketing word that doesn’t have any real meaning. When you hold in your hand and use an Arrow Model 210 Deluxe Stapler you know you have something that lives up to the expectations that the term deluxe promises. And when you hold in your hand the Presto Stapler DeLuxe you realize that you have something that more closely matches the marketing definition of deluxe.
Our item this month is the Presto Stapler and the Presto Stapler DeLuxe. Wait a second you say, how can two staplers be one item? I’m going to let you in on a little secret – they’re the same stapler.
If you’ve only seen these in pictures you can be forgiven for thinking the DeLuxe must be better somehow, maybe thicker steel or higher staple capacity or something. You’re probably thinking that there must be some difference that makes the Presto Stapler DeLuxe better than the regular old Presto Stapler. And you would be sort of correct. There are two differences between these “models”:
- the stapler deluxe has a rectangular badge on the plunger while the regular stapler has an oval badge and;
- the base of the stapler deluxe is enameled while the base of the regular stapler is polished steel.
The Presto Stapler (DeLuxe) measures 6″ L x 1.938″ W x 1.75″ H and weighs 10 ounces empty. It does not use standard staples but instead uses Presto 165 staples which were a smaller proprietary size (see Presto Model 30 Mini Stapler). It should also be noted that the Presto could not be used for tacking which for its time was an odd design limitation.
Every model came with a black hollow rubber base. The bottom of the base is stamped “HOLDS 400 STAPLES INSIDE”. The box is clearly marked “Holds 500 staples inc. magazine”. Many advertisements also mentioned this generous 500 staple capacity. The stapler could only hold 100 staples at a time. However, the rubber base could be removed and you could store another 400 staples there. Many of the Presto Staplers you see today do not have these rubber bases. This is because even when new the bases for these staplers had a reputation of being ill-fitting and prone to deteriorating quickly. Now add 50 years to all this and you can see why many of these bases didn’t survive.
The Presto was made by Metal Specialties Manufacturing Company (a bit of company history can be found by going to the Presto #53-B All Purpose Paper Punch post) as an economy stapler. Introduced in 1940 it was sold until at least 1963. However, it seems unlikely that it would have been sold for much longer after that year.
When available the Presto was sold for between 50 cents and $1.59 but even in the early 1960’s could still be found on sale for as little as 60 cents. Due to its low cost the Presto was a popular gift for students and sold well for general home use. It was also sold in standard office supply catalogs so it must have seen some business use.
Despite all of its shortcomings this is a fastener that people love. From its streamline moderne design to a magazine mechanism that manages to be both difficult to use and dangerous enough that it is as likely as not to draw blood when refilling with staples this is a fastener with personality. Despite all of its quirks this odd little stapler has still managed to win my affection.
Patent and Other Information:
- 2304293 Stapler
- 2343932 Staple Magazine and Feed Means for Stapling Machines
- 2399761 Stapler
- D120898 Stapler
- Gimbels (1940, August), advertisement, The Philadelphia Inquirer, page 16
- Montgomery Ward Spring and Summer Catalog (1942), Chicago, IL, page 725
- Hook’s Drug Stores (1947, October), advertisement, The Evening Republican, page 5
- Meier and Franks (1956, October), advertisement, Statesman, page 10
- Katz (1961, September), advertisement, Kansas City Star, page 12
- WOSCO, Inc. Catalog (1963), Greensburg, PA, page 8
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