Scriptus 2018 came and went and was an fantastic show for us. I’m always humbled by the amazing organization, the people we meet and other stores that support Canada’s only pen show. It sounds sad when you hear it like that and I can only hope that other cities in Canada follow the love. But we are very lucky to have this show locally. This year we donated two Conklin fountain pens for the raffle. The first was a blue ice Duragraph and the second was a peanut butter Mark Twain Crescent Filler. Customers noticed that this year we were Conklin fountain pen-centric by design.
It has been a great year for Knight’s Writing but even though I promised to write more content, it didn’t happen. I recently moved the blog from one hosting company to another, updated the theme, added extra security and prepared for getting back to work. So here I am. Let’s try again!
We have had great sales of Conklin fountain pens over the past year. So much so that I spent time getting a few more items in stock. We have 1.1 stub nibs in most of the pens we now stock and Conklin is just coming out with the Omniflex flexible nib for Canada. Hopefully we will have these in store soon.
The pen that caught my eye in the last shipment was the Mark Twain Crescent Filler. It comes in vintage green and peanut butter acrylic. Being a peanut fan, that was the one I decided to try out (and donate to the raffle). I do love acrylic pens and this one is no exception.
My first impression of the pen was that it is delicate. When you pick up a Duragraph the acrylic barrel seems fairly thick and is tipped with a solid plastic nib section. The top of the pen also has a plastic section. The crescent filler sections and cap screw are made entirely from acrylic. This is really nice because it makes the pen feel like a little masterpiece.
My comment about the pen being delicate comes because you can just see the innards of the peanut butter pen through the barrel. Once you pick the pen up, however, it feels solid. I'm sure that if you drop it from a height you might break it. This is no Lamy safari – throw it around and it bounces.
The crescent filler has an interesting filling mechanism. According to Conklin, Mark Twain became the official spokesman of the company in 1903. The crescent filler was his go to fountain pen. The modern day pen has the same filling mechanism is based on the original design and consists of a locking ring and crescent lever. Twist the locking ring so that the gap is directly inline with the crescent, place the nib section in the bottle and pump the crescent five or six times to suck ink into the pen.
The ink sac takes a good amount of ink, but it is difficult to gauge how much ink you actually have left in the pen. Of course this adds some excitement when you are out and about and never sure if you are going to run out or not. Although I haven’t tried, I have a feeling you may be able to unscrew the nib and feed and gain access to the ink sac for visual inspection.
One note of caution about the filling system. Make sure the ring is turned and fully engaged when the pen is in use so the crescent can’t get pressed down by mistake. You wouldn't want to get an inky pocket. According to the instruction booklet that comes with the pen, you should engage the ring at 180 degrees from the crescent. I found that some of the pens would only turn 90 or 160 degrees to be engaged. This isn't a problem because the ring fitting is tight and doesn’t seem able to undo itself.
The crescent filler is not a big pen. With the cap on it is 139mm (5.5 inches) and without the cap posted 125mm (4.92 inches). It is a very comfortable pen to hold. I generally write without the cap posted on the top of the pen and I do enjoy the size and writing experience. The uncapped Duragraph is the same length as the crescent filler.
The medium nib is somewhat fine. I took a couple of double takes with a loupe to see if I really was using a medium nib. I also did a comparison with a Duragraph and All American and sure enough the writing experience is the same.
Conklin nibs are either something you love or hate. I reminded one customer at Scriptus that you could get a bad nib with any fountain pen. He had a bad experience with a Conklin, but after trying the crescent filler he was gifted with a fantastic writing experience. The pen that I used for testing wrote sublimely. I like that the nib seems a little finer than your typical European medium nib. I used Diamine Onyx for this review and it flowed very well with no skips or problems.
The clip on the pen is solid and good for a shirt pocket. I’m not a huge fan of the trim at the base of the cap. It feels the connection between this and the acrylic might be a bit delicate (there's that word again), but it is neat to have the Conklin logo and Mark Twain’s signature embossed onto it.
My verdict for this pen? I love it. I love the acrylic, I love the size and weight and I love the crescent filling mechanism. The nib is smooth, at least on the pen I tried, and the writing experience is joyous. However, I would be worried about dropping the pen as I feel that it might easily crack or break. The price point has gone up a little bit as we import the pen from Conklin America and it is certainly not a cheap pen. But it is one to be loved if you own it.
Rhodia A5 Dot Pad: $6.95 CAD.
Diamine Onyx Black Ink: $14 CAD.