About This Model
Cross is one of the oldest manufacturers of writing instruments, dating back to the mid-1800’s. In the modern era, it was a major innovator in mechanical pencils, having introduced propel-repel pencils in 1879. There were also early fountain pen nibs labeled AT Cross, but probably not complete working fountain pens.
The Century, the pen and pencil that became the standard professional and executive instrument from the 1970’s on, appeared in 1946, the successor to Cross’s slim black-banded pencil and fountain pen line from 1930.
These were followed in 1953 by the ubiquitous Century ballpoint and the 1966 desk sets.
Cross continued with numerous later models, became the standard pen for Presidential signing ceremonies, and continues today in Rhode Island after 170 years in Lincoln and Providence, although most of its current production is in China.
About This Pen
Stood next to a typical Cross Century ballpoint pen, these two sterling pencils look like Mama Bear and Baby Bear. While the typical Cross Century or Classic Century ballpoint is 5.25″ long, these two pencils are 4.6″ and 3.5″, respectively. Both are in sterling silver and achieved a beautiful deep silver shine, with a few deeper areas of tarnish.
The “baby” pencil is from the black-banded years, probably 1930’s, and was probably made to fit an executive’s vest pocket, which it fits perfectly (if I wore a vest I’d have kept it…) The black band is at the junction of the twist mechanism and the barrel, and matches the classic black Cross crown. The imprint, one of the tiniest I’ve read, is on the twist mechanism, and it is clearly read with a loupe. The pencil works well.
The “mama” pencil is an early Century, most likely late-1940’s-50’s, is also of sterling silver, which is imprinted in the usual Cross location, just below the crown. It also polished up very well, and works well.
Both of these pencils can take extensive use and would make wonderful gifts for the Cross person. They are available individually or together.
“mama” alone: $45
“baby: alone: $50
both: $85. Buy either and take the modern stainless ballpoint for $15; buy both and it’s yours for free!