Conklin Mark Twain Crescent Filler Fountain Pen

Conklin Mark Twain Crescent Filler Fountain Pen

The name Mark Twain means many things to many people – it may conjure images of the Mississippi river; jog memories of mandatory school reading; or just remind us of one of the greatest writers to have put pen to paper. While it would be very hard to find anyone who did not know who Mark Twain was and what he accomplished, it is likely that most give little to no thought of his most important tool – his writing instrument. During the later years of his life, it was the Crescent fountain pen manufactured by Conklin Pen Co which became Twain’s instrument of choice. He enjoyed it so much that he became Conklin’s official spokesman in 1903. Conklin has continued to manufacture the Crescent fountain pen, now dubbed the Mark Twain Crescent Filler collection in honor of his patronage, to the same specifications as when it was available in the early 1900’s. The Crescent pens derive their name from the crescent half ring which protrudes from the body – rotate a safety ring so that a gap is lined up directly under the crescent, press on the crescent to deflate the bladder located inside of the body, release the crescent and ink will fill the bladder via suction – the safety ring is then rotated to avoid any spill issues. Twain’s appreciation of this particular pen was due to the half-moon crescent – it kept the pen from rolling off of his desk when he set it down.

Conklin has created a Limited Edition transparent version to allow users to see the inner workings of the Crescent line. Available with either Rose Gold or Black Titanium coated metal accents, only 1898 pieces are available. This quantity was chosen as it was the year in which Conklin was founded. The limited edition number can be found on the metal ring at the bottom of the cap, right underneath the re-creation of Mark Twain’s signature which is present on all of the Crescent pens. The body and cap are constructed of a clear acrylic. The material from which the bladder is made is also transparent, which leads to a very clean appearance when empty. The nib on either version is stainless steel, with the Rose Gold in Conklin’s usual two tone and the Black Titanium coated to match the other metal pieces. It is available in Fine, Medium or Stub. The Medium nib is a smooth writer, with just a hint of wetness displayed with light to medium pressure. A little more pressure, like what you would find yourself using for a ballpoint, and the nib was wet enough to feather on cheap paper. The cap is light so it is not bothersome when posted. The safety ring located between the crescent and the body of the pen is graduated – it is slimmer at the gap and gets thicker as it goes around the body. This allows you to turn the ring so that it rests squarely between the two pieces and does not allow any movement of the crescent. My one caveat – if you are even the least bit OCD, you will find yourself continuously threading and unthreading the cap onto the pen until the clip lines up with the crescent, even more so with the transparent edition since you can see the nib!

The Conklin Mark Twain Crescent filler line gives us the ability to experience writing with the same instrument used by one of the most influential and celebrated writers of all time. The crescent alone is a conversation starter, not even taking into consideration Mark Twain’s use. The pen itself feels like a quality piece and the nib provided a smooth writing experience. I like the Limited Edition’s transparency, though any of the Crescent line pens would work just as admirably. This is definitely a piece to add to your collection whether you’re a history buff, a literary fan or just fond of unique writing instruments.

- Joe