We don’t see many vintage Conklins on this side of the Atlantic, more’s the pity. Invented in 1898 by Ray Conklin and patented in 1903, it is the first practical self-filler. The crescent-filler’s huge success made Conklin one of the Big Four in sales in America until 1920 or so.
This one is a short pen at 11cm though it becomes good-sized when posted. The black hard rubber has held its colour well and the chasing is sharp. It has its original Toledo nib which is fully flexible.
I’ve had two or three Conklin Crescents over the years and I rate them very highly. The filling system is among the most efficient with its direct pressure on the sac – better than any lever or button filler at compressing the sac. The Toledo nibs are outstanding and are usually flexible.
Conklin’s competitors maintained that the Crescent was bulky and old-fashioned compared with their “smooth-barrel pens”. A century too late, I would dispute that claim. As I said above it is a more efficient system, elegant in its simplicity. The protruding crescent does not hinder the grip and stops the pen from rolling off the desk. Mark Twain praised it. No doubt he got a free pen and a few dollars for doing so but his words have the ring of truth.
Conklin is one of the many vintage pen manufacturers whose name has been revived. There is even a modern crescent filler. Unfortunately the pens the new Conklin company produces are a pale shadow of the great originals. I’ve had one or two of them and to my mind they are just another very ordinary Asian pen. They even pretend that they are a continuation of the original company. However, their pens sell within the same price range as the true Conklin would have done had the company continued, unlike, for instance, the revived Conway Stewart which sold very expensive pens, unlike the original company.