We are quickly becoming a pen-less and paperless society. In the same way that typewriters reduced the need for writing, computers have reduced the need for paper. In the past, writing a novel, filling out tax forms, or even making a grocery shopping list required putting pen to paper. Today, those same tasks can be done by putting fingers to keyboard. When ink is needed, though, it is often printer ink, not pen ink. Furthermore, if John Hancock were to put his “John Hancock,” or signature, on the Declaration of Independence today, he might use an electronic pen. But the news is not all bad in the decline of ink pen usage. The personal computer era has prevented the cutting down of countless trees. Also, computers have greatly increased the efficiency of recording information. In job interviews, secretaries are rarely asked how many words-per-minute they can write. Despite the slump in ink pen usage, however, Cross fountain pens continue to keep writing more tactile, and at the same time maintain a time-honored tradition.
The Fountain of Ink
A fountain pen is filled from a source outside itself, and contains an ink supply that automatically feeds the writing tip. As early as the 900s, humans have started developing a pen that fed itself and had no need for sharpening. The mission was accomplished in 1884 when the Waterman Company created the first fountain pen. That pen worked as well as a “dipping pen” but required no ink bottles! Today, numerous styles of fountain pens are produced, but each has the same basic parts. The nib serves as the pen’s point. Next, the barrel stores the ink supply. And finally, the cap covers the pen’s nib, in order to protect it. What makes the ink flow steadily in a fountain pen? A force called capillary attraction keeps the speed that ink flows from its supply to the tip balanced.
The Cross Company
The A.T. Cross Company is no stranger to fountain pens. It has been creating and improving high-quality writing instruments for more than a century and a half. In fact, Cross was the first American producer of quality writing instruments. Today, the design and craftsmanship of Cross’s pens continue to be world-class. The company’s founder, A.T. Cross, was a master pencil and pen maker who shared his craftsmanship with Alonzo Townsend Cross, his son. As the saying goes, the more things change, the more they stay the same. Today, Cross’s quality pens are handmade just as they have always been – one at a time in scenic Lincoln, Rhode Island.
Like all of their products, Cross fountain pens are truly masterpieces, revealing several features that add value to the instruments. For instance, all that glitters is gold on Cross fountain pens. Some of their high-end fountain pens include gold caps, nibs, and barrels. The numerous layers of clear lacquer allow other Cross fountain pens to look as sleek as today’s Italian sports cars. Moreover, if you want a pen that looks flashier than the standard U.S. government-issued writing instrument, you can choose a Cross fountain pen from nearly every color found in a bag of Skittles candy. On the other hand, if you prefer strength to aesthetics, choose a Cross fountain pen that has been plated with rhodium, a very hard metal.
Today, with the advent of computers and the Information Age, Cross fountain pens remind us of how physical and personal the act of putting pen to paper can be.