I have been on a bit of a quest, if you would like, to round out my modern pen collection with examples of “classic” vintage pens, like the Parker 51 and the Big Red, etc… Of course, no such collection would be complete without Mark Twain’s pen – Conklin’s Self-Filling Pen or better known as the Crescent Filler (aka the one that won’t roll off your desk!). You can read more about Conklin and Twain here. The Crescent Filler was invented by Roy Conklin of Toledo, Ohio, USA around 1897 and was the world’s first practical self-filling pen. In fact, the Crescent Filler was the top-selling self-filling pen on the market by 1913.
Just a brief aside about Mark Twain’ association with fountain pens. Almost everyone knows about Twain and his love of Conklin fountain pens. But have you ever seen this
Back to my new-to-me (vintage) pen. Like my Crescent Filler, the early models had slip-caps and most are black hard rubber with a nice wave-like chasing pattern. The chasing is worn somewhat on both ends of the barrel – from the capping of the pen and posting the cap.
The particular model that I acquired from Pen And Co. is an S3 according to the trademark imprint near the top of the barrel. The imprint in the bottom half of the barrel – which is relatively easy to read with the naked eye – reads “Conklin’s Self Filling Pen, Toledo, Ohio, USA” followed by the patent dates. What I am having difficulty establishing is the origin and nature of the clip (which slides on and off the cap). It appears to be made of nickel or similar metal and is stamped “Modern Pat’s 5 25 00/6 22 09” . The nib is a #3.
The patent for the pen is here: Conklin Patent for Self Filling Pen
To fill a crescent-filler, the C-shaped hard rubber lock ring has to be turned so that its opening is under the crescent. You then press the crescent and flatten the ink sac. Put the nib in ink, release the crescent, and count to ten to allow the sac to fill. Mine fills correctly.
Below is a picture of my black beauty, taken by Jean Elie of Pen And Co.