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”)

Parker51.com

Parker51.com

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]

Penhero.com

Penhero.com

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    

Parker, Sheaffer, Esterbrook, Cross Pen, Nib & Misc. Fountain Pen-45 Pen Lot++Cross Sterling Silver Fountain Pen 18 Karat Gold Rhodium Plated Medium NibCross Century Sterling Silver Pen & Pencil Set **mint Condition**Rare Beauty - Lapis & Gold Cross Townsend Fountain Pen - Xf NibCross Century Classic 18k Gold Filled Ball Point Pen W/box Serviced $249 RetailExpensive!! Sailor Cross-hatch Sterling Silver Fountain Pen Silver 18k-wg JapanLot Of Vintage Fountain Pens, Ball Point & Misc.cross, Parker, Esterbrook,eagleCross Townsend Pinnacle Sterling Silver Ballpoint Pen New In Box Made In UsaCross Century 14 Kt Gold Filled Pen & Pencil Set **superb-mint Condition**Cross Sterling Silver Limited Edition Fountain Pen 18k Solid Gold Nib New I Bx Cross 13 Piece Assorted Lot Ballpoint Pen Pencil Gold Filled Sheaffer Parker ^Cross 14 Kt. Gold Filled Ball Point PenNew Old Stock Stainless Steel Cross Medium Nib Fountain PenVintage Parker 75 Cisele Sterling Silver Cross Hatch Fountain Pen, 14k NibVintage Gold Cross Fountain Pen With 2 Converters 585 Gold NibCross Jewelers 23 Kt Gold Ballpoint Pen **deep Etched Flower Design** New**Boxed Cross Fountain Pen 10ct Rolled Gold Ireland 14ct Gold Nib2 Retired Cross Townsend Green Gold Speckled & Brown Lacquer Rollerball PensCross Townsend Medalist Fountain Pen, In ChromeCross Lot Of 10 Pens**brand New**with Refills**Cross Peerless 125 23kt Gold Plated Fountain PenSet Of Cross Ballpoint Pen And Pencil 10kt Yellow Gold Filled With Cz StoneVintage Cross Century Sterling Silver 925 Fountain Pen W/ 14k Gold Fine NibCross Lots 6 (six) Balloint Pens + One Pencil Black GoldSheaffer 14k Fountain Pen White Dot, 1/20 Kt Gf Cross Pen Pencil Set- ParkerVintage Cross Century 14k Gold Filled Roller PenCross Townsend Ballpoint Pen Vintage Cross Century Ii Fountain Pen Made UsaVintage Cross 12k Gold Filled Century I & Ii Rollerball Soft Selectip Pens. UsedCross Verve Platinum Plated Fountain PenVtg Cross Century Ii 1/20 12 Kt Gold Filled Rollerball Selectip (soft Tip) PenVtg Cross Pen And Pencil Set 14kt Gold Filled W/paperwork Case 1967 NiceCross Eggplant Purple Atx Roller Ball/select Tip Pen **new In Box**Nice Vintage 10k Gold Filled Cross Ballpoint Pen & Mechanical Pencil Set In BoxBeautiful Cross Century Ii Ballpoint Pen - Blue Plus Refils (9)Nib Vintage Cross Coca-cola Coke Gold 1/20 10kt 3 Pen Set W/box/papers/refillVintage Cross Century Sterling Silver Ball Point Pen-estate Find Needs WorkCross Pen & Pencil Set 12 K Gold FilledCross Peerless 125 23kt Gold Plated Ball Point PenVintage Cross Pen & Pencil Set - 10kt. Gold Filled - #4501 UnusedVintage Cross Pen And Mechanical Pencil Boxed Set 240105 Blue InkCross Purple Lacquer Click Gel Roller Ball Pen W/2 Refills **new In Box** Vintage Cross Gold And Black Ball Pen Pencil Set In Hard Wood Box.Cross Townsend Ballpoint Pen Cross Vintage 14kt Gold-filled Pen And Pencil Set In Original Case - PristineVintage Cross Century Classic 1/20 10k Gold Filled Rollerball PenNear-mint Cross Verve Merlot 5 3/4" Ballpoint Pen Free Shipping Nr!Vintage 14k Gold Filed Cross Pen And Pencil SetCross Century Iii Royal Blue Ballpoint Pen **new In Box**Gold And Silver Tone Cross Pen - New In Original Box!Vintage Cross Classic Black Ball Pen Pencil Set 3501. Never Used.Cross Google Ball Point Pen Blue Silver Tone Fathers DayCross Century Ii Matte Black With 23 Kt Gp Rollerball Selectip (soft Tip) PenCross Pen And Pencil Set 14kt GfCross Torero Desert Diamondback Fountain Pen Cross Classic Century Ladies Pen & Pencil Set Blue & Gold New Old Stock NibCross Gold Ballpoint Pen With Engraved Floral PatternPretty Cross Silver Colored Fountain Ink Pen With Box Piston Converter No Dings Cross 12k Gold Filled Ball Point Pen & Mechanical Pencil In Box VintageBrand New Cross Classic Century (3505) Lustrous Chrome Selectip Rollerball Pen