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    

Cross Vintage Sterling Silver Pen & Pencil Set **superb Condition**Vintage Cross Century, Ball-pen And Pencil / 1/20 12kt Gold Filled Cross Century Signet Ballpoint Pen - 18k Gold Filled / Rolled GoldCross Townsend Sterling Silver Ball Point PenVintage Cross 14 Kt. Gold Filled Ball Pen/0.5mm Pencil Pen SetCross Townsend Titanium-plated Fountain Pen Cross 14 Kt Gold Filled Pen & Pencil Set **superb Condition**Vintage Cross 14k Gold Filled Pen & Mechanical Pencil Set In Orig BoxVintage Lot Of Ballpoint & Fountain Pens Sheaffer's Cross Parker ParketteVintage Cross 14k Rose Gold Pen Pencil Box Set Control Data Solid 10k Award EmbCross 1/20 14k Gold Filled Ball Point Blue Ink PenAt Cross 150th Anniversary Fountain Pen Sterling Silver 18k Nib 0639 Of 2100Cross Townsend Sterling Silver Ball Point PenCross Townsend Barack Obama Signature & Seal Rollerball Platinum Pen W/case ExcCross Vintage Sterling Silver Pen & Pencil Set W/ CaseCross Century Cuverro Copper Antibacterial Ballpoint Pen NewVintage 12k Yellow Gold Gf Cross Century Mechanical Pen Pencil Set Mono WorkingVintage Cross 18 Kt. Gold Filled Ball Pen/0.5mm Pencil Pen SetVintage Cross 1/20 10k Gold Filled Pen & Mechanical Pencil Set In Original CaseVintage Restored Cross Townsend Fountain Pen Medium NibVintage Cross 14k Gold Filled Ball Point Pen W/ Case & Instructions UsaLot Of 3 Gold Filled Cross Pens And 1 Gold Filled Cross Pencil Includes 1 CaseHuge 19pc Lot Cross And Anson Pens Pencils & Sets In Boxes 2 Gold Plated NrSouth Carolina Highway Patrol State Trooper Cross PenCross 12 Kt Gold Filled Pen & Pencil ( See Pic )8 Vtg Estate Find Cross 1/20 12k Gold Filled Pen & Pencil Lot * Loose UsedVintage Cross 14k Gold-filled Pen And Pencil Set With Case/box Vintage Cross Pen & Pencil Set 6601 12kt Gold Filled Gm Ac Delco New In Box NrLot Of 2 Nib Cross Apogee Black Star Sauvage Azurite Blue Ballpont Pens NibNew! Cross Edge Sonic Titanium Gel Ink Pen Makes A Great Gift!Cross Fountain Pen With Ink Cartridges.Cross Pen & Pencil Set In The CaseCross Century Ii Medalist Roller Ball Pen **new In Box**Cross Limited Series Century Classic Colors Matte Pearlescent Pink Pen & Pencil!New Cross Affinity Jewel Blue Selectip Rolling Ball Pen ,gift Boxed & Beautiful!Cross Classic Century, 10k Gold-filled/rolled Gold, Ballpoint Pen And Pencil SetCross Pen & Pencil Set - 7 Up Logo On ClipStylish Working Cross Rolled Gold Ballpoint Pen Made In UsaCross Classic Sterling Silver Ball Point Pen In Original Gift BoxCross Jewelers 23 Kt Herringbone Ballpoint Pen**new Old Stock**Cross Desk Pen Set Sterling Silver Pen & Pencil Black Glass Base Estate FindCross Classic Blue Tech 3 Multi Function Pen Brand New Doctor Lawyer GiftVintage Cross Classic Black 2501 Pen & Pencil Set Ac Delco Gm New In The BoxLady Cross Pen W/case 14ct Gold Filled Engraved Floral PatternCross Ge Pen Set 12k Gf W/ Box & Black Pencil General Electric Advertising LogoVintage Rare Gloss Black Cross Ball Point Pen Usa Made Nice Vintage Lot 9-parker --cross -sheaffer Pen's. Brand New Cross Classic Century Colors Ballpoint Pen Violet Beautiful!Cross Townsend Medalist Ball Point Pen Silver & Gold-free Shipping, NrVintage Black Matte Cross Pen Set Coca Cola Coke AdvertisingCross Madison Blue & Stainless Steel Ballpoint Pen New In Box Cross Vintage 14 Kt. Gold Ladies Line Pen & Pencil SetTwo Cross Pens With Cadillac LogoVintage Cross Classic Century Pen & Pencil Set In Sterling Silver Cross Pen Set-silver & Black, Ballpoint, Pencil & Roller-nr, Free ShippingA.t. Cross Vintage 12k Gold Filled Pen And Pencil Set. Gift Box. Cross 12kgold Pen,pencil Set-detroit Diesel AllisonVintage Black And Gold "cross" Ball Point Pen, Very Nice Quality!Vintage Cross Classic Black Pen & Pencil Set No. 2501 - New In BoxCross Jewelers 23 Kt Gold Ballpoint Pen **deep Etched Flower Design** New**