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    

Expensive!! Sailor Cross-hatch Sterling Silver Fountain Pen Silver 18k-wg JapanCross Century Sterling Silver Pen & Pencil Set **mint Condition**Cross Century Classic 18k Gold Filled Ball Point Pen W/box Serviced $249 RetailPilot Beautiful!! Cross-hatch Namiki 18k Fountain Pen Black X Silver Japan FpCross Century 14 Kt Gold Filled Pen & Pencil Set **superb-mint Condition**Expensive!! Pilote Sterling Silver 925 X Gold Fountain Pen Cross-hatch Japan FpVintage Parker 75 Cisele Sterling Silver Cross Hatch Fountain Pen, 14k NibCross Peerless 125 23kt Gold Plated Fountain PenCross Townsend Pinnacle Sterling Silver Ballpoint Pen New In Box Made In UsaCross Sterling Silver Limited Edition Fountain Pen 18k Solid Gold Nib New I Bx Cross Townsend Medalist Fountain Pen, In ChromeCross Century Vintage 14 Kt Gold Filled Ballpoint Pen **nos**Cross Lot Of 10 Pens**brand New**with Refills**Set Of Cross Ballpoint Pen And Pencil 10kt Yellow Gold Filled With Cz StoneCross Townsend Pinnacle Sterling Silver Roller Ball Pen** New In Box Made In UsaCross Jewelers 23 Kt Gold Ballpoint Pen **deep Etched Flower Design** New**Nib Vintage Cross Coca-cola Coke Gold 1/20 10kt 3 Pen Set W/box/papers/refillCross Townsend Midnight Blue Marble W/rhodium Fountain Pen **new**Sheaffer 14k Fountain Pen White Dot, 1/20 Kt Gf Cross Pen Pencil Set- ParkerCross Peerless 125 23kt Gold Plated Fountain PenCross Verve Platinum Plated Fountain PenVintage Cross Fountain PenVintage Cross 12k Gold Filled Century I & Ii Rollerball Soft Selectip Pens. UsedCross Lots 6 (six) Balloint Pens + One Pencil Black GoldCross Classic Black Pen & Pencil W/23 Kt Set W/key Ring **new Old Stock**Cross Townsend Ballpoint Pen New Old Stock Cross Rollerball Pen Matte Black Finish Usa Made NiceCross Lot Of 10 Pens**brand New**with Refills**Cross Townsend Ballpoint Pen 14kgold Filled Cross Pen Pencil Combo Set Withbox & BookletCross Townsend Ballpoint Pen Cross Vintage 10 Kt Gold Filled Roller Ball/select Tip Pen **new Old Stock**Nice Vintage 10k Gold Filled Cross Ballpoint Pen & Mechanical Pencil Set In BoxCross 12 Kt. Gold Filled Pen & Pencil Set # 6601Cross Peerless 125 23kt Gold Plated Ball Point PenCross Purple Lacquer Click Gel Roller Ball Pen W/2 Refills **new In Box** Cross Century 14 Kt Gold Filled Pen & Pencil Set **new In Box**1/20 10k Gold Filled Cross Ballpoint Pen & Mechanical Pencil Set In CaseVintage 12 Kt Gold Filled Cross Ball Point Pen & Pencil Set With Original BoxVintage Cross Century 14k Gold Filled Roller PenCross Torero Desert Diamondback Fountain Pen Vintage Cross ? 14k Gold Filled Walt Disney Prod. Mickey Mouse Ink Pen2-cross Pens W/lead In The Original Cross Case, 1/20th 14kt Gold Filled - L@@k! Cross Century Ii Medalist Ballpoint Pen **new In Box**Cross Rollerball Pen Made In IrelandCross Pen & Mechanical Pen Set 1/20th 12k. G.f. With Box Lot#joe-100Cross Century Green W/23 Kt Ballpoint Pen & Pencil Set **superb Condition**Vintage Rare Cross Century Classic 14k Gold Filled Cadillac Pen/pencil Set W/boxVintage 14k Gold Filed Cross Pen And Pencil SetCross Lot Of 10 Pens**brand New**with Refills**Vintage Cross Solo Fountain Pen Plastic Blue BodyCross Classic Century No. 4502, 10k Gold Filled Ball Point Pen - NibCross Stratford Fountain Pen Black FinishLot-vintage Sheaffer Fountain Pens-cross Pens-lead-writing-coke Pencils-draftingSmall Lot Of Cross Ballpoint Pens + Refill + Pencil Cross Gold Ballpoint Pen With Engraved Floral PatternCross Classic Century Ladies Pen & Pencil Set Blue & Gold New Old Stock NibCross Townsend Ballpoint Pen Vintage Cross Century Ii Fountain Pen Made Usa Rare12k Gold Cross Pen & Pencil Set - Vintage,original Box - Prensentation Gmc Parts