Welcome to the Atomic Age! We still don’t have flying cars or jetpacks, but we do have the Presto #53-B All Purpose Paper Punch.
This was manufactured by Metal Specialties Manufacturing Co in Melrose Park, IL under their Presto brand name of office products. The one shown here is an electric green. The only other colors I have ever seen are black and grey. In my opinion, this is the one to have.
The #53-B was invented by Lauren H. Semler and the patent assigned to Metal Specialties Manufacturing Co. The patent was applied for in September 1947 and patent number 2481883 was granted in September 1949. As the patent illustrations exactly match the actual item that was produced it is my opinion that this paper punch was first manufactured during the time the patent application was pending. This particular one does have the patent number so it must have been made on or after September 1949.
The Presto brand name does not seem to have had a very long life. Metal Specialties Manufacturing Company was incorporated in 1905 in Chicago, IL. Lauren Semler purchased Metal Specialties Manufacturing Co in 1933 and in 1939 launched the Presto brand of office products. In 1940 the company stopped all domestic production and contracted with the US Government making only war materiel. At the end of the war the company again started making the Presto line of products including paper punches. In 1953 the company built a new plant in Melrose Park, IL. In 1962 the Presto line of products was sold. The buyer was a company called Mutual Products Company based in Worcester, Massachusetts. For a short time after the acquisition Mutual Products produced some of the Presto branded consumable office supplies such as staples. They do not seem to have produced any of the other durable office items except for paper punches. These were rebranded as the Mutual Paper Punch and were released in a number of different models. Based on some circumstantial evidence, Mutual Products seem to have been acquired by ACCO in the 1970’s or 1980’s.
It seems reasonable that given the company history and the general overall design of the punch that it would have been made somewhere between 1953 and 1962. This certainly fits the style and color of this item.
The Presto #53-B weighs 1 lb. and 2 oz. and measures 11.25” L x 2.25”W x 1.75”H. The three individual punches are fully adjustable and with the ruled edge can be set very accurately. It doesn’t feel as durable as other paper punches I’ve used but for light office or home use it is more than sufficient.