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History of Cross

Richard CrossBack in the 1840s, Richard Cross, a jeweller from Birmingham, left the UK for Providence, Rhode Island, USA, where he founded the A.T. Cross Pencil Company in 1846. His company continued to hone their craft over five generations of the Cross family.

Their expansion into fountain pens began in 1876 with a ‘Stylographic’ pen, most similar to what would now be called a metal-tipped technical pen, but with a more smoothly rounded tip for writing. A tiny wire inside a tubular tip controls the ink flow, and the Cross design was very successful, and used by all workers in the US Post Office.

The company name came from Richard’s son, Alonzo Townsend Cross, whose name also lives on in the Cross Townsend range. It was Alonzo who sold the company to Walter Boss, their top salesperson, in 1915. With his keen mind for sales, Walter continued the company’s success, introducing the ballpoint pen to their range, and moving towards pens as ideal gifts.

For their 100th anniversary, in 1946, Cross introduced the Classic Century pencil, still one of their most popular designs. In the years since, they have added rollerballs with liquid and gel ink, brought back fountain pens, and added the option of fibre-tipped pens and refills, and now sell pens in over 100 countries. The Classic Century range was extended with more pen types to celebrate their 150th anniversary.

In recent years, Cross has also produced more special and limited edition pens, including Star Wars editions in collaboration with Disney. The Century II gave the Classic Century a wider body for more a more comfortable grip, and formed the basis for many special designs. The Tech range added stylus tips to some high quality multipens.

The Ion and Edge introduced interesting mechanisms to pull them out to extend the length of the pens while also extending the tip, making them both pocketable and fun to fiddle with.

The Selectip pens deserve a special mention too - rollerball pens, but with refills available as fibre-tip and super high-capacity ballpoints, so the same pen can write in different ways to suit the customer’s preference.

Cross pen with Joe Biden's signature engravedCross pens are sometimes known as the ‘pen of presidents’, as they have been the writing instruments of choice for many US presidents and other world leaders, being used to sign many treaties and laws all over the world.

The Cross commitment to quality continues with extensive testing to ensure their pens are reliable, including drop tests and salt spray tests, to make sure they’re not only built to last, but they actually do last. And that quality is backed up by a lifetime mechanical warranty.

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