Company Back Story:
Roy Conklin’s patented the design for the first self-filling pen in 1897, his company to thrived and gained the approval of author Mark Twain, who became the official spokesperson for the Conklin brand. His great innovation was the distinctive crescent filler. This model is renowned for being the first mass-produced self-filling pen as well as the first mass-produced pen to use a flexible rubber ink sac. Patents for the pen were granted in 1901 and 1903. Production continued until 1930ish when the design was retired in favor of a lever-filler design.
Early pens dating to 1907 have unmarked crescents while pens made up to 1920 have the crescents marked “CRESCENT-FILLER/TRADE MARK” on one side only. Pens dating from the 1920s have crescents with marks on both sides.
My pen is a Crescent Model 50 (aka S5) with a #5 nib and surprise it was in working order when I purchased it. Someone replaced the ink sac but didn’t bother to clean the crescent, the pressure bar was highly oxidized. The nib we’ll talk about later. The pen is black chased ebonite (hard rubber) and is in excellent shape – for its age (it’s like 102-104 years old). There are no cracks, the chasing is distinct and the logo imprint is crisp. There is some brassing at each end of the cap clip and the crescent. The pen color was black originally but has an ever so slight brownish tint. I don’t believe it has been chemically treated to return the black color.
The crescent only has markings on one side, establishing the pen as the second model (1908-1920). The cap clip contains the patent date May 28,1918, thus dating the pen between 1918-1920.
The nib is a semi-flex gold #5 Toledo, it writes Fine. I tried removing the nib and feed from the section but they are held fast. I polished the top as best I could but the underside is still a little dirty and the feed is misaligned. I’ll get to those soon.
The pen was dirty when I purchased it but nothing a Sunshine cloth couldn’t handle. The haze of dirt was quickly removed producing a typical ebonite lacquer-like gloss.
- Capped length, 143mm
- Uncapped length, 132mm
- Barrel diameter, 12mm
- Cap diameter, 14mm
- Weighs in at 20g
Ok time to ink it up and give it a go! The nib is flexible. A little scratchy as the ink starts to flow but that stops after a letter or two. It is a wet nib, the ink likes to flow.