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”)

Parker51.com

Parker51.com

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]

Penhero.com

Penhero.com

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 Townsend Platinum Select Tip/roller Ball Pen **new In Box**Vintage Cross Pen/pencil Collection-1/10th 12k & 1/10 14k Gold Filled Sets-Lot Of 9 Vintage Cross Pen & Pencil With Logo Emblems, Hp, Shell Oil, & MoreCross Black Lacquer Townsend Roller Ball Pen **new In Box**Pilot Fountain Pen Vintage Silver Black Cross-hatch Model 18k Cartridge Free FpCross Pen & Pencil Set 1/20 14kt Gold Filled Presentation Case & Brochure 1967 Vintage Cross Classic 1/20th 14 Kt Gold Filled Pen Pencil SetCross 14kt Gold Filled Ladies Ball Pen & Pencil Set- Ribbed Rare Vintage UsaVintage Cross 14kt Gold Filled Pen And 12 Cross Refills3 Cross Aventura Rolling Ball Pen In Box Unused Selectip Rolling Ball PensSterling Silver Cross Pen Writing Instrument Vintage Antique Cross Vintage Sterling Roller Ball/ballpoint Pen Set **excellent Condition**Cross Ion Pen, Aurora Blue, New In Original Case And BoxSigned Cross Pen Emerald Green Bell Ink Inkwell Heath Coll. 2014 *37-167 NrCross Rolled Gold Silver Case Rowenta Ink Pen Pencil Lighter Parker Fountain LotLot Of Gold Filled 10-12-14k Scrap 7 Cross Pen And Pencils And 3 Eye Glasses .Lot Of Vintage Cross 1/20 12k Gold Filled Made In U. S. A. 4 Pencils - 2 Pens Vintage Cross Ballpoint Pens W/ Original Boxes (2) 1/20 14k Gold-filledVintage Cross Fountain Pen Circa 1962, Original Case & InstructionsCross Pen Set 2 Pens Gold Filled With Soft CaseNew In Box Cross Pen And Mechanical Pencil Set Blue/gold With Instruction Sheet Great Cross 14k Gold Filled Ball Point Pen From Estate, Never UsedCross Aventura Black Chrome Fountain Pen NewVintage Cross Gold Filled Pen Cross Bailey Medalist Selectip Rolling Ball Pen NewNew Unused Lustrous Chrome Cross Pen And Pencil Set Circa 1980'sCross Ion Pen, Celestial Green, New In Original Case And BoxCross No Reserve Apogee Diamond Cut Staccato Rolling Ball Pen Rollerball Chrome Sterling Silver Cross Pen And Pencil Set With Box & BrochureCross Vintage Sterling Silver Pen & Pencil Set **excellent Condition**14kt Gold Filled Classy Cross Pen And Pencil Set Made In The Usa! With Case Vintage Cross Ball Point Pen & Pencil Box Set Chrome 3501Cross Classic Century Selectip Rolling Ball Pen And Ballpoint Pen In BoxCross 10k Gold Fill Selectip Rolling Ball Point Pen In Box W Warranty & Inst Cross Usa Gun Metal & Gold Finish Fountain Pen In Box - Medium NibCross Beverly Purple Chrome Fountain Pen NewVintage Cross Pens Set Gold And Chrome With Original BoxCross Edge Titanium Rollerball Retractable Pen NewAdorable Snoopy Gray Cross Ink Pen Grey In Box With Original PapersTwo (2)cross Ball Point Pens One(1) Mechanical Pencil Cross Century 12k Gold Filled Ballpoint PenCross Townsend Platinum-plated Rollerball Pen At0045-1Cross Ion Pen, Neptune Blue, New In Original Case And BoxCoca-cola Cross PenCross Edge Nitro Blue Ballpoint Retractable Pen NewCross Ion Pen, Cosmic Purple, New In Original Case And BoxVintage Unused Cross Pen & Pencel Set Sterling Silver In Original Box PerfectCross Classic Century Black Matte Fountain PenCross Aventura Onyx Black Fountain Pen & Cross Black Fountain Pen Refills-6 PackVintage Cross 14kt Gold Filled Pen And Pencil Set Extra Leads And 6 Cross RefillCross 14k Gold Filled Pen & Pencil Set Un-used NiceCross Edge Titanium Satin Black Rollerball Retractable Pen NewVictorinox Swiss Army Knife W/ Transparent Cross Pen In Classic Sappire BlueCross Beverly Purple Chrome Ballpoint Pen NewCross 14 Kt Gold Filled Pen And Pencil Set In Hard Hinged Box Old? CollectibleCross - Green Marbled Classic Century Pen & Pencil Set W/ 23 Kt Gold TrimCross Pen Pencil Set 14kt Gold Filled #1501Lot Of 6 Cross Pens And Pencils, 2 Pens, 4 Pencils 10k,12k, And 14k GoldBeautiful Cross Century Champagne Ball Point Pen 442-3 Mib Never UsedVintage Cross Pen & Pencil Set W/ Coleman Camping Lantern Logo - New In Box