The all metal oval shaded Presto camera was manufactured by Magic Introduction Co. (NY) in 1896 who also manufactured the Photoret. Designed by Herman Casler, based upon his British patent of 17th December 1895 (#24157). The camera was sold by E B Koopman of 33 Union Square for 2.50USD, New York. In England Marion and Co of Soho Square sold the camera for 10s 3d (0.5125GBP) post free by mail order. Dimensions 3.25x2.25x1.75ins (8.5x6x4.5cms)
It offered 25 28x28mm exposures on roll film or 4 glass plates . Meniscus lens with rotating front stops. Single speed gravity shutter that was reset by turning the camera over and back again. It's simplicity was noted in the advertisements "a child can operate the Presto."
It was well reviewed in Scientific American 23rd May 1896, page 331.
A range of accessories were also sold including plates, film, chemicals, darkroom lamp, Presto printing frame, mounts and other items to assist the camera user. The advert of the Kodak Brownie with it's easy of use and larger negative probably contributed to the demise of the Presto.
$600-900, original box and plates will add $200-300.
MAY , 1896 , "SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN"
Last updated 20th March 2006