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    

Superb Cross Stainless Steel Fountain Pen (unused) In Original Box - Gj M24Vintage Cross Fountain Pen 18k Solid Gold Nib Unused In Branded CaseCross Boxed Pencil Ballpoint & Fountain Pen Set? Good ConditionCross Solid 14k Gold Ball Point PenClassic Cross 14k Gold Filled Ball Point Pen And Pencil Set With BoxVintage Cross Ball Point Pen And Pencil Set Classic Black In Box 2501Vintage 60's/70's Cross Sterling Silver Pen / Pencil Set - Usa - NiceCross Vintage 14 Kt Gold Ladies Pen & Pencil Set **excellent Condition**Cross 14kt Gold Pen And PencilCross 14k Gold Fountain PenCross Sorrento Black Rollerball PenVintage Cross 10k Gold Filled & 14k Solid Yellow Gold Nib Fountain PenVintage Cross Sterling Silver Ball Point Twist Pen Original Gift Box BrochureCross Century Medalist Roller Ball Pen **excellent Condition**old Stock**Cross Edge Nitro Blue Ballpoint Retractable Pen NewParker 75 Ciscle Cross Hatch Sterling Silver Fountain Pen W. BoxCross Black Granite Double Desk Set,black Glass, 10k Gold Fill Pen & PencilCross Sterling Silver Ballpoint Pen-un Secretary Gen'l Pen-javier Perez DecuellaCross Click Satin Black Gel Pen NewCross Century Blue With 23 Kt Appts. Pen & Pencil Set **new**Vintage Cross 14k Gold Filled Pen & Pencil Set For Women~nos~ Beautiful! Cross Radiance Blue / Gold Rollerball & Stylus Pen New In Box Vintage "cross Classic" Ballpoint Pen-1/20 14kt Gold Filled-made In The UsaCross Blue Atx Fountain PenPlatinum Vintage Fountain Pen Silver & Black Cross-hatch 14k-wg From Japan FpCross Century Blue Ladies Pen & Pencil Set **new In Box**Vintage Cross Sterling Silver Ballpoint Ink Pen - Black Ink -- DnCross Gold Filled Pen And Pencil Set In Case Made In UsaCross Century Classic Medalist 23kt Gold Pen New Graduation Teacher Boss GiftCross Pen Set 10 Karat Gold Filled Lions InternationalLot Of 7 Pen/pencil Sets Cross And Papermate ParkerBrand New Old Stock Cross Metal Ballpoint Pen With Dark BandsSignature Fountain Pen 18k Nib Broad The King Of Cross! 22kt Goldp Zebra StripesCross Classic Signature 22k Gold Pen #3285Vintage Gold Filled Cross Pen W/3 Working Refills & Original BoxCross Classic Century Chrome Fountain Pen NewCross 3 Silver Tone Ball Point PenVintage Cross 14k Gold Filled Pen For Women~nos~ Beautiful!Western Electric Cross Pen And Pencil Set 14k Gold Filled 25 Year ServiceCross Click White Gel Ballpoint Pen NewVintage Cross Pen / Pencil Black And Gold Set With Leather Case / Lead / ErasersCross 14kt Gold Filled Pen Made In Usa Cross Metropolis Blue And Chrome Ball-point Pen Very Hard Fine Blue Cross Atx Chrome Fountain Pen (new)Rare Tuxedo Black Cross Morph Ballpoint Pen + 5 Refills New $150 Graduation GiftA.t. Cross Leather Pen Pouch !! Fits Montblanc , Montegrappa , Cartier PensVintage Cross 14k Gold Filled Soft Tip Pen~nos~ Beautiful!Cross Pen Vatican Museum Limited Edition Pen - New - Made In AmericaCross Silver Metal Fountain Pen And Ball Point Pen Set Made In UsaVintage 12k Gold Filled Cross Ball Point Pen & Pencil Set #6601 W/box/paperCross Tech 3 Black Pen6pcs Cross Silver Line Barrel Baoer 79 Roller Ball Pen & 12Cross Stainless Metal Dr. Pepper Ball Ink Pen With Original BoxVintage 1982 Cross 1/20 10kt Gold Filled Pen & Pencil Set W/case -free Shipping!Vintage Cross Gold 10k Fill Ball Point Pen And Pencil Pair SetCross Windsor Chrome Barrel Ball Point PenCross Aventura Blue Fountain Pen New2 Vintage Cross Pens 1 New In Box Lincoln Car LogoCross Bailey Black Lacquer Fountain Pen NewCross Co 150 Th Anniversary Sterling Silver Pen Gorgeous! # 1718 Of 1750 Only!!!