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    

Vintage Victorian Inkwell Dip Pen ~ Cross Pen Co #3 ~ Ivory & 14k GoldVintage Sheaffer Fountain Pen Sterling Silver Cross Hatch Body 14k Gold Nib Nice14k 14 Kt Gold Filled Cross Pen And Pencil Set With BoxCross Pen & Pencil Set No. 6601 12 Kt. Gold Filled12pc Lot Cross Pens & Mechanical Pencils - Various - W/sterling SilverNew In Case Cross Pen & Pencil Set~14k Gold Filled~great Gift For The GraduateCross Sterling Silver Limited Edition Fountain Pen 18k Solid Gold Nib New I Bx Cross Classic Century 14k Rose Gold Filled 0.9mm Pencil & Ball Point Pen SetCross Vintage Sterling Silver Pen & Pencil Set **mint Condition**Cross 14k Gold Fil Ladies Pen W/ Floral Band & Top Grain Cowhide Pen Purse $150Vintage Cross Gold Ball Point Pen - Near Mint W/ Box - Made In UsaLot Of Assorted Cross And Parker Pens, Ball-fountain 1 Set Marked 12kt Gold Vintage Cross 2501 Classic Black Pen And Pencil Gold Plated Set In Original BoxNamiki Pilote Cross-hatch Japan 18kwg-nib Fountain Pen Black X Silver Fp NrCross Pearlescent Blue Click Gel Ink Pen **new In Box**new Color**3 Piece Lot Cross Ball Point Felt Tip Pen Mechanical Pencil Ladies Gold FilledLot Of Vintage Chrome Cross & Readipoint Ball Point Pens & Mechanical PencilsCross Vintage Sterling Silver Ladies Ballpoint Pen **new Old Stock**Vintage Cross Fountain PenCross Century 14 Kt Gold Filled Pen & Pencil Set **great Condition**~ Vtg Sterling Silver Cross Rose Pen Pencil Set With SleeveCross 1/20 14 Kt. Gold Filled Ball Point Pen & Mechanical Pencil * Made In UsaVintage 14k Solid Gold Cross Ball Point Pen Cross Vintage Sterling Silver Pen & Pencil Set (1975)Cross Classic Century Medalist Pen & Pencil Set **brand New**Cross Classic Century 14k Rose Gold Filled 0.9mm Pencil & Ball Point Pen SetVintage Cross 1/20 14kt Gold Filled Ballpoint Pen & Pencil Set Euc W/caseVtg Mixed Lot Ball Point Pens Parker Cross Sheaffer Papermate Windsor WeareverCross Century 10 Kt Gold Filled Ballpoint Pen **new Old Stock** UsaVintage Classic Black Cross Pen Pencil Set # 250105New. Cross Rollerball Soft Tip Pen. 14 Kt Gold Plated . With Instructions. BoxedCross Century 14 Kt Gold Filled Pen & Pencil Set **new Old Stock**Vintage Cross Century Fountain Pen Matte Black Made IrlandVintage P-3 Orion Lockheed-cross Pen & Pencil Set ChromeVintage Cross Ball Pen & Pencil Set 3501 Lustrous Chrome Cross Pinnacle Townsend Gf Fountain Pen New Condition Original Paperwork Box Cross Century Medalist Ballpoint Pen & Pencil Set **new Old Stock** UsaLot 5 Cross Pens/piencil 10k Gold FilledCross Lot Of 10 Pens**brand New**with Refills**Vintage 1982 Cross Gold Filled Ball Point Pen Pencil Set Mint New W Box Papers3pc Lot Of Vintage Cross Pens PencilsCross Pen Set Pen And Pencil 12kt Gold Filled With Oldsmobile Logo,Cross Ball Pen No:1502, Gold Filled 14kCross Century Black Ladies Ball Point Pen & Pencil Set NosVintage Cross Rollerball / Soft Tip Pen - Black Ceramic & Gold - Blue InkCross Fountain Pen, Fine PointCross Vintage Sterling Silver Pen & Pencil Set **excellent Condition**Cross Tech 2 Ballpoint Pen Metallic Redbarrel+ Refills & Stylus Gift Set Cross Century Medalist Roller Ball/select Tip Pen **new Old Stock**usa**Nib Vtg Pratt & Whitney Eagle 1514 Cross Trio Set 14 K Gold Filled 2 Pens PencilCross Century Ladies Burgundy Ballpoint Pen **new Old Stock**Vintage Cross 10k Gold Filled Century Pen & Pencil Set Kiwanis InternationalCross Century International Red W/23 Kt Ballpoint Pen **new Old Stock**Cross Coca Cola Emblem Chrome Mechanical Pen And Pencil Set In Original BoxVintage Cross Pen Pencil Set Classic Black 2501Cross Ion- Metal Blue Ion, A Great Pcoket PenCross Century Classic Medalist & 23kt Gold Fountain Pen Graduation Gift2 Cross Pen And Pencil Sets Ladies  black And Gold With Pouch & Standard Set Hs Cross Century Colors Purple Ballpoint Pen **new In Box**Vintage Cross Ball Point Pen & Pencil Set 10kt Gold Filled Made In Usa