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Mark Twain Signature

Maker: Conklin

This particular model is less of a reproduction of a previous Conklin pen (which most of the early output of the revived company was) than one suggestive of vintage pens in general shape.  The model name is predicated on a relationship between the famous author and the original incarnation of the company.  Twain used one of Conklin’s crescent-filler pens, and wrote an endorsement for them to use in their advertising.  A facsimile of Twain’s signature is inscribed on the band of the pen, but in honesty that’s as much connection as he would ever have had with this pen.

I try not to be a contrarian at all times, so I will not go into any length about how poorly most modern pens compare to their vintage cousins.  Considering this pen only as a modern object, I have to call it quite impressive.  This is apart from its scale, which in the modern “big equals worthy” mode is pretty hefty (the presentation box, which makes the pen seem of a human size, is actually big enough to hold a pair of children’s shoes).  Rather stiff, which is also in the modern mode, the writing is otherwise smooth and pleasant.  The point and feed are, I suspect, provided by an outside supplier as they are quite similar to those mounted in the Quill which I have.  This is not a dig, as in-house creation of these elements has become more the exception than the rule.

The one real disappointment in this pen, which may be a lapse in a few examples rather than a general specification, is the lack of an inner cap.  With the clip penetrating the cap, the point cannot be said to be sealed when in carriage.  In quite short order, it dries out and becomes difficult to start; left to sit overnight, the pen almost needs dipping in a cup of water to revive it.  This is no impediment to the collector who doesn’t view pens as being for use, but this pen is rather too inexpensive to appeal to most people in that frame of mind.

Production Run: 2000 – c. 2004

Cost When New: $65 (for up-to-date value, try this calculator).

Size: 14.4 cm long capped, 15.9 cm posted, 12.6 cm uncapped.

Point: Steel.

Body: Acrylic.

Filler: Cartridge, capacity approx. 0.6 ml or 1.4 ml (international pattern)

Conklin Mark Twain Signature

The two signatures on the Signature

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