Samuel Clemens, better known to lovers of classic American literature as Mark Twain, was possibly the first famous person used to sell a specific make and model of pen.
Twain was the writer of “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,” “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer,” “Life on the Mississippi,” “A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court” and what might be my favorite “new” find of the year “On the Damned Human Race.” (I have yet to read it, but with a title like that it has serious potential.)
His pen of choice…at least when paid to say so…was the Conklin Crescent. In 1903 he was quoted as saying, “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.”
In addition to being the paid spokesman for Conklin, Clemens was the very first author to start composing novels on a new fangled invention called the typewriter. The novel was “Tom Sawyer.” Can you imagine writing a book that long with a pen? Can you imagine being the poor editors back in the day who had to decifer the handwriting in hundreds of manuscripts?
The Conklin Pen Co. was originally located in Toledo, Ohio. The unique part about it was that instead of an eyedropper or lever filler, it used an ink sac activated by a crescent protruding from the center of the hard rubber pen body. That crescent was connected to a flat metal bar that simply squeezed the ink sac. It was prevented from being accidently activated by a hard rubber ring that served as a safety that had to be spun to a clearing that would allow the crescent to be depressed.
Roughly a decade ago, the Conklin Pen Co. was revived. As part of their revitalization, the company restored the Crescent model to the selves of pen retailers. They even made a special model dedicated to Mr. Clemens.
At ThePenMarket.com we have an original early 20th century black hard rubber crescent filler and a much rarer gold-fill Conklin Crescent.