A.T. Cross has the distinction of being the first and longest-operating American writing-utensil manufacturer. The company says it has been in business “Since 1846,” but that’s a slight exaggeration since that was the year Alonzo Townsend Cross, the man for whom the company is named, was born. His father, Richard Cross, actually founded the company around 1847, though it was not until 1857 that Cross moved to Rhode Island, where the company continues to produce pens today.

The first Cross goods were pencil cases and pens made of gold and silver, as well as other non-writing goods such as cigar holders. By the early 1870s, once Alonzo was fully part of the company, Cross took off.

Alonzo Cross was credited with 25 patents in his life, including nine for stylographic pens and six for pencils. For example, Cross invented the propel-repel mechanical pencil, which is the forerunner of today’s mechanical pencils.

His most important invention, however, was the stylographic pen (similar to an ink pencil), which changed the face of fountain pens forever. This pen, which is highly collectible today, was the first fountain pen strong enough to produce carbon copies along with an original print. The pens had a hollow nib with a wire for a valve, which enabled it to make its impression. The U.S. Post Office was so impressed with the invention that it mandated its use by postal workers.

A.T. Cross, which was sold in 1916 to the Boss family, began making standard fountain pens in the early 1930s. In that decade, A.T. Cross produced a beautiful Art Deco pen made of gold and chrome, with black-enamel adornments. The pen was supposed to play second fiddle to a co-released pencil, but instead it was the star of the set. This classic pen was manufactured through 1940 and reintroduced in 1982.

In the decades between, Cross put aside its fountain-pen line to become a leader in rollerball, soft-tip, and ballpoint pens. In particular, its ballpoint pens and mechanical pencils were highly acclaimed. Since 1946, neither design has changed. Collectors today look for the size of the black ring at the top of the pen—pens with smaller rings are generally considered more valuable.

Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)



Ernesto Soler's extensive homage to one of the most popular pens ever produced, the Parker "51," introduced in 1941… [read review or visit site]



Jim Mamoulides' vintage and modern pen-cyclopedia. Start at the main gallery, featuring detailed articles (with pho… [read review or visit site]

Clubs & Associations

Discussion Forums

Other Great Reference Sites

Most watched eBay auctions    

14k Gold Filled Cross Pen & Pencil Set In CaseVintage Cross Solid 14k Gold Executive Pen & Pencil Set With Leather BoxSolid 14k Gold Tiffany & Co. Ballpoint Cross Pen W/original Felt Pouch & BoxNear Mint* Cross-hatch Pilot 1970s Vintage Silver X Black Fountain Pen Namiki NrCross Pen Pencil Set Sterling Silver No.3001Cross Star Wars Darth Vader Gel Pen, New In BoxVintage Cross Century Gold & Chrome Rollerball Pen Cased (unused)Cross Classic Black # 2501 Pen & Pencil SetCross Click Star Wars C-3p0 Gel Rollerball Pen New In Box Cross Click Star Wars Darth Vader Gel Rollerball Pen New In Box Cross Townsend Medalist Pen (505) In BoxBeautiful 14k Gold Nib Cross Fountain Pen*****Lot 2 Cross Townsend Silver Rollerball Parker Sonnet Burgandy Ballpoint PensNew Cross Pen & Pencil Set ~ Two-tone/ Gold & Silver ~ Boxed !Used Cross Century Ii Medalist Chrome & 23 Kt. Plated Fountain Pen...cheapVintage Cross Classic Century Chrome Ballpoint Pen Cased (unused)Vintage Cross Century Ii Fountain Pen Made UsaCross Edge Gel Pen, Formula Red, New In Box Cross Townsend Ball Point Lapis Lazuli Pen In Box RareCross Fountain Pen & Roller Ball - 14k Gf - 14k M Nib, Converter - No Reserve!Vintage Cross Ballpoint Pen & Mechanical Pencil Set 10k Gold Filled W/ Box ExcNew Cross Pen & Pencil Set ~ 1/20 10k Gold Filled ~ Boxed !Lot Of 8 Vintage Cross Pens Gold Fill And Chrome Boeing TotemCross Townsend Collection Medallist 23k Gold Plated Ballpoint Chrome Pen W/ Case Vintage Cross Ball Pen Pencil Set 10 Kt Gold FilledCross 14k Yellow Gold Filled Pen Pencil Set Box Sleeve United States BallpointCross - Very Rare - Century Jewelers Ballpoint Pen - Deep Cut Gold Floral - NewOriginal British Airways Concorde Cross Ballpoint Pen And StationeryCross Classic Century Black Satin Ballpoint Pen W/23k Gold Appointments, NewLot Of 3 Cross Solo Fountain PensVintage Cross Century Gold & Blue Lacquer Rollerball Pen Cased (unused)Cross 1/20 14k Gold Filled Ink Pen, Cross Ball Point Pen Cross 2506 Classic Black Fountain Pen With Case And Paperwork Nice Condition Nr Cross 18kt Gold-filled Ballpoint PenVintage Cross Classic Grey Ballpoint Pen And Pencil Set W/org. Box - Ladies SetVintage Cross Ball Point Pen 12k Gold Filled Vintage Cross Century Fountain Pen Chrome Made Usa"new" Snap-on Tools 10k Classic Century Cross® Pen 2-6New Cross Pen & Pencil Set ~ Polished Chrome Finish ~ Boxed !Cross Ballpoint Pen & Mechanical Pencil Marble Base Desk Set 10k Gold FilledPen And Pencil Set By Cross With Box ExcellentCross Ion Chrome Blue Ballpoint Gel Pen Vintage Cross 10kt Gold Filled Ballpoint Pen And Pencil Set Vintage Cross Century Ball Pen & Pencil Set Chrome 3501Cross Gold Pen & Pencil SetNew Cross Roller Pen With Document Marker In BoxCross Century Ii 10k Gold Filled W/14k Gold Plated Nib Fountain PenCross Century Violet Purple & Siver Trim Ballpoint Pen New In Box At0082-49 Cross Century Classic Rollerball And Ballpoint Pen Set Nib Black And GoldVintage Cross Century Ii Fountain Pen Made UsaVintage Cross Century Ii Roller Ball Pen UsaVintage Cross Lustrous Chrome Pen / Pencil Set 3501 W/box & InstructionsCross Satin Chrome Ballpoint Pen New In Box At0082dc-31 Vintage Cross Townsend Bamboo Roller Pen Chrome Body UsaVintage Cross Century Ii Roller Ball Pen UsaNew!!! In The Box-cross Twist Action Ball Point PenVintage Parker 75 Sterling Silver Cisele Cross Hatch Flat Top Ball Pen Gold UsaCross Century Classic Ii Matte Black & 23kt Gold Rollerball Pen $150 GiftCross Century Classic Titanium 14kt Gold Pen And Parker LotCross Edge Pink Rollerball Pen New Graduation Daughter Mom Nurse Doctor Rn Gift