Business between Italy and Germany in the writing instrument industry was always brisk, but from the late twentiesthrough the early forties trade grew enormously. German pens were exported to Italy, where many were enhanced with the application of metal overlays. But large German companies also supplied Italian producers with raw materials (hard rubber, casein plastic, and celluloid), metal parts (clips, filling mechanisms, and trim), and nibs. Besides selling in Italy, many finished products were exported from Italy for sale on the German market. While Koska was based in Via Perugia, Milan, the date it was established is not known. The features of the earliest Koska pens, however, would suggest that the business began production in the second half of the twenties. But it cannot be ruled than this.
The name Koska derives from the first syllables of the owners’ surnames: Koheler and Schaefer, which give “Ko-scha.” This was simplified to “Kosca,” possibly because Italians would have pronounced “Koscha” as coscia, that is, the Italian word for thigh.
Like other firms with German origins, Koska quickly established itself on the market with its production of metal parts and precious metal overlays. And this was the sector in which Koska was most successful, soon becoming regarded as the benchmark for quality overlays by many Italian compagnie During the thirties/early forties Koska made precious metal overlays for Columbus, Omega, Ercolessi, and the Italian branch of Waterman. And in the fifties it expanded its clientele to Parker.
Pens made during the second half of the thirties are more standardized. Available in three sizes, they have a more solid and robust design. The cap trim consists of a band with geometric guilloche decorations set between two thinner bands. Koska definitively adopted a clip with a “faceted” tip during this period with the name “Koska” engraved on it. This clip was also widely used on safety pens with metal overlays (some marked “Koska,” others not) and many overlays made for other firms.