Conklin Pens – 120 years of pens

Roy Conklin got into the pen business the 1890’s, so there can be no doubting the companies heritage. In the early years of the 20th Century, Conklin was up there with the “Big Four” manufacturers – Parker, Sheaffer, Eversharp and Waterman – but was eventually squeezed out of the market in the 20’s and 30’s. In the early 1900’s Conklin came up with a number of innovative and attractive pens, using classic material such as vulcanite.

Conklin Vintage Crescent Filler fountain pen

Crescent Filler

Conklin’s enduring claim to fame was the Crescent Filler – one of the first self  filling fountain pens.  Introduced in the early 1900’s, it attracted the admiration of one Samuel Clemens- Mark Twain.  “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.”  You’ll note the protruding crescent, used to press down on a rubber sac to draw the ink in, and the band around the pen which was rotated to lock or release the filling system – and had the secondary benefit of stopping the pen rolling!

Many more splendid pens were produced in the early part of the century, the

Conklin "3.50" celluloid Fountain Pen

Conklin “3.50”

Endura, Duragraph and Nozac, including this beautiful “$3.50” – that’s how much it cost – celluloid pen currently owned by Sarj Minhas.  But the Great Depression struck and, although Conklin introduced budget ranges, failed thrive and by the late 30’s was in deep decline.  As we’ve seen  with other pen companies in more recent times, changes of ownership were followed by a final end in 1955.

Duragraph - Cracked Ice fountain pen

Modern Duragraph – Cracked Ice

But this wasn’t the end of the story.  In 2000 the Conklin Pen Company was founded, making pens based on the original designs.  In 2009 this was in turn bought by the mighty Yafa pen Company.  Pens are no longer made in Ohio,  but the top end offerings, including the Crescent Filler, are made by the Italian prestige brand Stipula.  Still based on the original designs, and featuring some extremely attractive resins, they offer good looking, reasonably priced pens based on designs from the golden age of pens.

Take a look at the range on our site!

Vintage Green Mark Twain fountain pen

Modern Vintage Green Mark Twain