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    

Nos Cross Century Sterling Silver 14k Nib Usa Made Fountain Pen Fine PointVintage Cross Pen & Pencil Lot - 14k Gold Filled Set & 2 10k Gf & 1 12k GfVintage "cross" 14k Gold Filled Pen & Pencil Set - "a Gift For Her" - NewVintage Cross 14k Gold Filled Pen And Mechanical Pencil Set Control DataVintage Sterling Silver 925 Cross Ball Point Pen & Pencil Set New Old Stock RareVintage "cross" 14k Gold Filled Pen & Pencil Set - "a Gift For Her" - UnusedVintage Cross Century Ball Pen 925 Sterling Silver Body IrelandCross 14 Kt Gold Soft Tip Pen No. 1504Vintage Cross Century Gray Pen & Pencil Set #210105 Mint Logo Allied Signal MibVintage Cross Pen And Pencil Set No. 6601 12kt Gold Filled LookNew Old Stock - Vintage 1967 Cross Century 14kt Gold Filled Ladies Pen SetCross Click Star Wars C-3p0 Gel Rollerball Pen New In Box Vintage Used Cross Sterling Silver Pen & Pencil SetVintage Cross Townsend Rb Pen, Chrome With Gold Trim, Large SizeCross Burgundy Red/chrome Ballpoint Pen, New In BoxCross Century Violet Purple & Siver Trim Ballpoint Pen New In Box At0082-49 Vintage Cross 14k Gold Filled Pen And Mechanical Pencil Set Control DataNew In Box - Cross Century Red #3802 Ball Pen With Union Pacific Logo On ClipVintage "cross" 14k Gold Filled Pen & Pencil Set - NewCross Ball Pen Pencil Set3 Piece Lot - Cross Century 10k Gold Filled Ball PensVintage Tiffany & Co Sterling Ink Pen Cross PatternCross (navy Blue) Pen Pencil Set (hamilton Standard ) + 1 14k Gold Plate L@@k!!Cross 14k Gold Filled Women's Pen & Pencil Set - Mint Condition~original BoxCross Sterling Silver Limited Edition Fountain Pen 18k Solid Gold Nib New I Bx Vintage Cross Century Ii Fountain Pen Made Usa Medium PointCross Usa Townsend Marbled Lapis Blue With Silver Accents Ballpoint PenVintage Cross Townsend Bamboo Fountain Pen Chrome Body Fine PointCross Pen And Pencil Cross Century 14k Gold Filled Ladies Ball Pen With PouchCross Ballpoint Pen Century Teal & Siver Ballpoint Pen New In Box At0082-89 Vintage Cross 14ktgold Fill Pen & Pencil Set Bell Telephone 20year Serv W/ CaseTwo Cross Pen / Pencil Sets Gray 2101 Rheox Logo , Classic Black 2501 Cross Gold Filled Pen In Original Display CaseCross Pen 2502 With Box, 14k Gold3 Piece Lot - Cross Century Chrome Ball PensCross Pen And Pencil Set 1/20 12k Gold Filled VintageCross Taco Bell Logo Pen And Pencil Set In BoxCross Fountain Pen Gloss Chrome Barrel W/ Gold Nib Usa Made NiceCross Century #3501 Pen-pencil Chrome Vfw Set & BoxCross Pen And Mini Maglite Taco Bell Logo In Box NewVintage Cross Classic Gold Ball Point Pen Original Box And Instructions - Filled2 Vintage 1/20 12k Gold Filled Cross PensBritish Airways "concorde" Cross Ballpoint PenVintage Cross 10kt Gold Filled Ball Point/0.5mm 450105 Pen & Pencil Set W/caseCross Pen - Star Wars - Bb-8 - Limited Edition - RareVintage Cross 10k Gold Filled Ballpoint Rollerball Pen & Pencil Set Ernst YoungVintage Cross Pen & Pencil Set, 1/20 14k Gold FilledVintage Cross Black Ballpoint Pen & Mechanical Pencil 250105 Set Chevron LogoVintage Cross Ballpoint Pen & Pencil 1/20 14kt Gold Filled Cross SetCross Gold Filled Pen In Original Display CaseNew Never Used Cross Ion Saturn Red & Black Roller Ball Gel Ink Pen New In Box Cross Century Classic Black & 23kt Gold Pen + 5 Free Refills $80 Graduation GiftVintage Cross Gel Rolling Ball PenCross Click Star Wars Stormtrooper Gel Rollerball Pen New In Box 12k Gold Filled Cross Century Pen & Mechanical Pencil Set UsaVintage 1/20th 10k Gold Filled Ballpoint Cross Pen - Works - Cross Blue InkCross Pen Sterling SilverCross Townsend Midnight Blue/sterling Silver Roller Ball Pen Jb3Cross Pen Lot Plus Pen/pencil Lots