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    

Sailor Naginata Cross Emperor Blue 1911 Large Profit Fountain Pen Vintage 18 K Rg Gold Cross Pen, Card Holder/planner/ Wallet, In Box Cross 1/20 18 K Gold Rare Filled Rolled Pen & Pencil Century Classic IrelandVtg Cross Pepsi 14kt Gold Filled Pen & Pencil Set Soda Advertising Bottle CapVintage Cross Century Fountain Pen Matte Black Made IrelandCross Verve Golden Shimmer Fountain Pen New In BoxVintage Cross Townsend Bamboo Fountain Pen Chrome UsaVery Nice Ladies Cross 14k Gold Filled Pen And Pencil Set Original CaseRare Vintage 14kt Gold Filled Cross Pen & Pencil Set & Box Bags Great Shape Nr Lot Of 6 Cross Pen & Pencils * 1/20 12k &14k Gold Filled * Gray 210105 18 Pens And Mechanical Pencils 11 Are Cross 7 Others Large LotLot Of 8 Vintage Cross Pens Gold Fill And Chrome FloralCross 12k Gold Filled Ballpoint Pen Mechanical Pencil Set 3mVintage Cross Pen And Pencil Set In BlackCross Pen 14 K Gold Filled Classic Vintage CollectibleCollector * Concorde British Airways * - By A.t. Cross Pen Cross 14k Gold Filled Pen & Pencil Set In Leather Case No Monogram Mint FindVintage Cross Century Roller Ball Pen 12kt Gold Filled UsaCross 14k Gold Filled Pen. Vintage Cross Ink Pen 1/20 18k Gold Filled Black Ink Working ConditionVintage Cross Rollerball PenVintage Pen And Pencil Set-cross Original Packaging 14k GoldVintage Cross Ball Point Pen 14k Gold FilledCross 14 K Nib 1/20 10kt Gold Filled Fountain Pen With BoxCross Classic Blue Tech 3 Multi Function Pen Brand New Doctor Lawyer GiftCross Century Classic Copper Ballpoint Pen Teacher Mom Dad Graduations New GiftCross Concorde Edition Ball Point Pen - Made In Ireland- WorksCross Classic Matte Black Tech 3 Multi Function Pen Brand New Nurse Ladies GiftVintage Cross Ballpoint Classic Ball Point Pen Usa 14kt Gold Filled Case & InstrCross 1/20 Kt Gold Filled Ball Point Pen & Pencil SetCross Pen Pencil Lot Of 3 - Rollerball, Fountain Black Medium, Twist + BonusCollection Of Vintage Cross Pens & Letter Openers Box Incl. Airplane PropellerOld Vintage Cross Made In Usa 14k Gold Filled Floral Pattern Ball Point Pen RareVintage Cross Century Ii Fountain Pen Full Metal Body Made UsaCross Pen & Mechanical Pencil Lot Of 8 Chrome Used Vintage 3 Ballpoint 4 PencilsVintage Cross Atx Fountain Pen Chrome Body UsaCross 10k Gold Filled Pen & Pencil Set #4501 W/monogram In Box Mint!Cross Dubai Fountain Pen Blue Lacquer And Chrome Stainless Steel Medium NibYear Of The Dragon 22kt Gold Plated Cross Cut Fountain Pen $200 Graduation GiftCross 12k Gold Filled Selectip (rollerball) Pen & Pencil Set, Looks, Works Well Cross Vintage Ball Pen Pencil Set 10 Kt Gold Filled 4501 CompleteRare Emploee Award Cross Swire Coca-cola Coke Gold Fountain Pen 1 Billion CasesVintage Cross 14k G/f Ladies Pen & Pencil Set W/ Leather Case "texaco" EngravingCross Pen & Pencil Set In Orig Box, Instructions/guarantee 1/20 14 K Gf 289g2 4^Vintage Cross Townsend Bamboo Fountain Pen Lacquer UsaVintage Lot Cross 1/20 10kt Gf Pen & Pencil Set + 1 Gf 14kt – 3 PiecesCross Ball Point Pen And Pencil Set Dark Blue Reg. $60.00Cross Pen 10k Gold Filled CaseAtx Fountain Pen By Cross.Vintage Cross Soft Tip Pen 12kt Gold Filled Original Case Cartridges & BrochureVintage Lot Of 4 Cross Century Chrome Ballpoint PensLot Of 4 Cross & 4 Keisler (2-12krt.gf) Mechanical Pens/pencils Parts Or RestoreCross Green Gold Twist Ball Point Ink PenCross Century Racing Red Ballpoint Pen New In Box Atoo82-23 Retired Pen Vintage Nib Cross 1501 Ball Point Pen & Pencil Set 14k Gold Filled1st Edition Cross Century Fountain Pen * Matte Black Gt * Medium Nib * Usa 1990sCross Model 1506 Gold Filled Fountain PenCross Century Black & Gold Ballpoint Pen & Pencil Set - Usa Advertsing SkfCross Century Classic 14k Rolled Gold Ball Point Pen Kuwait F A S New RefillCross Pen & Pencil Set ~ 1/20 10k Gf ~ Rolled Gold ~ Nos