Conklin Crescent, the pen of choice by Mark Twain
A truly great vintage pen: Samuel Clemens, better known by his pen name Mark Twain, was possibly the first famous person used to sell a specific make and model of pen.
His pen of choice, or so goes to story was the Conklin Crescent.
He was paid to market the Conklin Crescent, this very cool pen so we will never really know for sure if it was indeed his first choice. But since it is such a great writer and the Conklin pen is a real gem, I am sure you agree with me it has to be so. Also, marketing was back then not what it is now, so let us agree there is some truth to it. He was quoted saying in the year 1903, “I prefer it to ten other fountain pens because it carries its filler in its own stomach, and I cannot mislay it even by art or intention. Also, I prefer it because it is a profanity saver; it cannot roll off the desk.”
Some background on this great vintage pen
Roy Conklin, a business man and inventor in Ohio, developed the very first handy self-filling pen in 1897. The crescent shaped piece on the side of this Conklin pen squeezes a rubber ink sac inside when pressed and when released the ink is drawn into the sac. By incorporating a crescent shaped push filling mechanism the Conklin self-filling fountain pen became the best selling fountain pen of its time.
But let me explain the character of Mark Twain a little bit further before I move on to the Conklin Glider. Mark Twain was born in 1835 in the small river town of Florida, Missouri, not so far away from Indian Territory. A sixth child, a true Southerner and a lifestyle that influenced Twain’s later writings. Twain himself was mischievous, the prototype of his own character, Tom Sawyer. His formal schooling ended after the age of 12, when his father passed away.
First learning as an apprentice in a printer’s shop but quickly moving through the ranks of the newspaper trade. Rising to sub editor, but famous for tall tales and satirical jokes. After some traveling as a journalist, he went for his boyhood dream and became a river pilot at the age of 24. But this changed with the war in 1861. Two years later Twain went back to his former role in life as a reporter/humorist and in 1863 adopted the pseudonym Mark Twain. Here is a charcoal picture drawn by Dustin JW Cook. Who kindly displayed it on Google.
Seven years later he married. Ten years after he restarted writing, he published The Gilded Age, Twain’s first extended work of fiction and he was now firmly established as an author rather than journalist. By the time Twain reached the age of fifty, he was already considered a successful writer and businessman. His popularity skyrocketed with The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876), The Prince and the Pauper (1882), and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1885). By then, he was considered among the greatest character painters in the literary community. Twain was modern not only did he use innovative, cool pens like the Conklin Crescent, he was one of the first authors to start composing novels on a new invention called the typewriter. The novel was “Tom Sawyer.” The american author and humorist wrote many things besides Mark Twain but remains most known for ‘The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn’, ‘Life on the Mississippi’, ‘A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court’.
Conklin Pen Co. including the special Conklin Crescent pen was revived after one hundred years. But as it goes with the limited series, one has to add a zero tot the price of a normal pen. You better head for a great vintage pen.
Now the Glider Chase model is one of the latest editions of the Conklin’s® pen collection. The Conklin Glider Chase is a venerable pen, time-honored and of exquisite quality.
But if you are about to purchase this great vintage pen, you have to know the meaning of chasing. The process of chasing is used to create a design and texture that is embedded into the surface of the pen’s material. This process is also known as Guilloché from the French word for the tool used to cut the engraved grooves into the material to create the hand-made design. In the 1900s, pens were made of hard black rubber. Chasing was a very popular method and changed a common object into a piece of art engraved by designers or crafty artisans, and had the opportunity to show and display their abilities. Chasing required special skills and was very time consuming, therefor it added value to a pen. Nowadays hard rubber is replaced by resins.
But this modern, black version and with a Guilloché design goes back to the original Conklin pens. A modern, extremely beautiful pen at a reasonable price but with a classic vintage flair.
The Glider Conklin pens are today available in both: twist-action ballpoint pen and cartridge/ converter Fountain Pens with Fine, Medium or Broad nibs.
You can find more information, reviews and the price of the Glider Conklin, here.