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 1970s Pilot 18k-gold Nib "elite" Silver Cross-hatch Fountain Pen JapanVintage Pen Lot!!! Anson! St. Andrews! Waterman's! Cross! Parker!Cross Sterling Silver Pen & Pencil With BoxCross Townsend Black & Silver Rollerball Pen - NewCross Century Ball Pen 14k Gold FilledVintage Cross Classic Black And Gold Tone Boxed Pen And Pencil SetCross Century Ii Fountain Pen Matte Black Body Xf NibCross Click Star Wars Darth Vader Gel Rollerball Pen New In Box 14k Rose Gold Filled Cross Pen Pencil Set. Original Box Writing Instrument MintVintage Sterling Silver Cross Pen & Pencil Desk Set .925Used Vintage Cross Ballpoint Pen Sterling Silver 3002 With Hard Shell Case, NrCross Pen Lot Gold Vintage 4 Pens Gordons TransportVintage Cross Century 10kt Gold Filled Fountain Pen IrelandLot Of 7 Vintage Cross Pens 3 Boxed Sets & One Single Pen Vintage Chrome Cross Century Gold Filled Ball Point Pen & Pencil Set Cross Gold Filled Ball Pen And Pencil Set Vtg Chrome Cross Century Gold Filled Ball Point Pen/pencil Set & Black Pen- Nr!Sterling Silver Cross Townsend Ballpoint Pen - Model 652Cross Edge Gel Rollerball Pen, Formula Red, New!!!!Cross Click Star Wars Stormtrooper Gel Rollerball Pen New In Box Cross 10k Gold Filled Ballpoint Pen, New In BoxVintage Cross 14k Gold Filled Gumout Advertising Ballpoint PenNew Never Used Cross Ion Saturn Red Roller Ball Gel Ink Pen New In Box 2 Cross Gold Filled Fountain Pens With CartridgesVintage Cross 925kt Solid Sterling Silver Fountain Pen Barrel Cross Century 10kt Gold-filled Ballpoint Pen Vintage 14k Yellow Gold "cross" Ball Point PenVintage Bsa Boy Scouts Cross Gold Filled Pen & Pencil Set From Estate !!!!!!!!!!Cross Classic Trio Set Pen Pencil Soft Tip Pen W/ Box Working Cond. Set 2514Cross Classic Century Copper Ballpoint Pen New In Box At0082s-65Cross Beverly Iridescent White Pen, New!!!!Cross Pen And Pencil Set - Classic Black # 250105 - 0.5 Mm Set Ensemble.Advertising Lot Of Cross PensCross Townsend Black Ballpoint Gift Pen At0042-30 In Gift BoxMini Maglite & Cross Pen Set - Boeing Logo - New In Box & New Batteries2 Vintage Cross 1/20 12k Gold Filled Pens With Stroh's LogoVintage Cross Townsend Bamboo Fountain Pen Lacquer BodyVintage Cross Set -chrome Ballpoint And Chrome Roller Ball Pens-classic CrossVintage Cross Peterbilt Pen & Pencil Set Silver In Color 3501 ChromeVintage 1/20 14kt Gold Filled Cross Pen And Pencil SetVintage Cross Townsend Bamboo Roller Ball Pen Chrome BodyVintage Cross 12 Kt Gold Filled Ballpoint Pen New W/ Box 6602Cross Vintage Classic Dark Blue Pen & Pencil SetNew Old Stock Cross Ballpoint Blue Pen With Gold Trim Turnstile SlimVintage Cross Gray Ball Point Pen W / Box Unused 2102Vintage Cross 12k Gold Filled Ball Point Pen & Pencil Set With BoxCross Pen And Pencil SetCross Verve Merlot Fountain Pen!Cross Century Burgundy W/23 Kt Pen & Pencil Set **new Old Stock**Ibm 3090 Cross Century Classic Black & Gold Rollerball Pen New In Box 2505 Vintage Usa Cross 14k Gold Filled Pen And Pencil Set No CaseCross Century 10k Gold Filled Pen And Pencil SetVintage Cross Classic Black Pen And Pencil Set With Oxy Logo In Original BoxA Gift For Her! Cross 14k Gf Pen/pencil Vintage & Nice!Group Of Cross PensCross Century Violet Purple & Siver Trim Ballpoint Pen New In Box At0082-49 Vintage Cross Century Fountain Pen Chrome Body Golden Trim Made UsaVintage Cross Ballpoint Pen Pencil Set Lot Total Of 8 Advertising 14k Gf Boxes Vintage Chrome Cross Ball Point Pen & Pencil Set @@@ Cross Century Classic Grey Ballpoint Pen Made In Usa