Susie Thomas was given this Conklin M31 in 1905 for her high school graduation. She looks way more sophisticated than most high school kids today.
It is the romantic in me that makes up the story behind an individual pen when I pick it up and look it over. Who owned it? What did it write about? What transpired in the years it chronicled?
We don’t have to wonder about that with our Conklin M31. We know it was given as a gift in 1905 to Susan Thomas. She had just graduated high school and was going to attend business college! We know this because her granddaughter Jane asked us to sell it.
These long-taper capped Conklin pens are extremely difficult to find today, as they usually lose their caps over time…or they break. The black hard rubber can be brittle. This pen is nearly mint…except for the chocolate hazing and #2 14k gold Conklin replacement nib. However, it is a FLEXI nib, which ought to make up for the few flaws.
Susie’s past is a little hazy. She went to business college, which was all but unheard of for a woman in 1905. She got married and had kids at some point, and Jane thinks she died in the 1940s.
Conklin M31 pens with their tapered caps are very rare and a real treasure with a flexi nib. It is even rarer to know its personal history.
Preliminary research shows (so far) that this pen was first issued in 1903. We restored it with a new ink sac. The gold-filled ring is monogramed with a script “T.” A great pen for a museum collection and use.
Donn D. shared this new set of ink fast tests he made in 2018. Look how well Cross inks hold up!
Ink Guru Donn D. and I ran into each other again at the Chicago Pen Show a week ago, and I was pleased to see he had some new ink-fast tests to share. This batch is concerned with more fountain pen inks, and I was surprised to find great results with the Cross inks. Who knew? So often happens that Cross gets written off as a boring legacy brand. They make a lot of good ink and surprisingly good pens, in spite of their ubiquity on the scene here in the States.
Much of my conversation with Donn revolved around the fact that ballpoint inks are more susceptible to U.V. light than previously thought. He has found some fade out just as poorly as fountain pen inks. Given ballpoint inks are formulated with oil as a base, this surprised me. As thicker inks, I thought they’d last longer. With any luck, Donn will share those ballpoint ink results with us one day.
In the meantime, enjoy these great tests with fountain pen inks. Click the image to see a bigger version.