Conklins and Chronicles

I was asked to identify a Conklin. Not at all my area of expertise so I pulled out the wonderful The Chronicle of the Fountain Pen (2007) by Martins, Leite and Gagean and worked my way through the years until I found something resembling the pen I had been asked about. In my journey through the book I saw so many, many gorgeous pens.

Conklins were an excellent brand, especially those made in Toledo, though some of the Chicago ones have lasted well and are attractive. Of course all the other pens I passed over while searching caught my eye and slowed the search!

The Chronicle is a masterwork, the best coverage of the Western pen world that there is, and organised in such an accessible way. It is, I would say, not nearly well enough known. In my opinion it far outdoes many of the better known works. If it has a fault, it is that Japanese, Chinese and Indian pens are not well covered but that is a failing shared with almost all fountain pen reference works.

Someday someone will bring out a compendious volume of Eastern and Far Eastern pens. It is eagerly anticipated and much overdue.

2 thoughts on “Conklins and Chronicles

  1. Thanks for this post. I wasn’t aware of this book but am now the proud owner and of one am very impressed. It even covers my favourites, Progress and Valentine, and based on the content I’m pretty sure they used Steve Hull’s articles in the WES journal. These have now all been collated in the WES white books which maybe why I’ve seen a few more old journals surfacing on Ebay.

    1. Hello Simon,
      When I was dealing with pens from all over the world (the taxes and charges put an end to that years ago) I found this book invaluable. It’s still a great help when people ask about pens. I was in contact with Luiz Leite for a time; his knowledge is encyclopaedic – and he’s a very nice person. Progress? Not many of them around. If you have any I would love to see them!

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