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Conklin Mark Twain


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#1 Apollo

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Posted 08 August 2005 - 11:29

I got a chance to pick a very nice new pen over the weekend and thought I'd share my impressions of it. It's the Conklin Mark Twain Signature Fountain Pen.

Released by Conklin as a tribute to Mark Twain, the collection is made of resin material and is available in four colors: Ocean Blue, Lime Green, Royal Purple, and Marbled Burgundy. At there website, Conklin states: Mark Twain both used and promoted Conklin pens in the early 1900’s and was featured in a famous advertising campaign proclaiming his preference for Conklin Pens.

The pen itself features a tapered barrel, a slanted cap which has very well thought out spring clip and a silver plated band etched with Mark Twain's signature. The cap is twisted off to reveal an Iridium plated steel nib available in fine or medium. I opted for the "ocean blue" color with a fine nib. The pen comes nicely packaged in an oversized giftbox and although no ink cartridges are supplied with the pen, it does come with a converter.

Upon initial observation, the pen appears a bit long when compared to others. It measures 5 3/4 inches long when capped, however, it's not at all heavy or cumbersome. It's actually quite light and well balanced even with the cap posted. The barrel tapers at the section to provide a comfortable and secure grip.

Once I got home, I removed the pen from the box and filled it up with Waterman Florida Blue and gave it a go. The pen lays such a nice and consistently smooth line that I consider the Conklin Mark Twain to be one of the nicest writers in it's price range. It certainly writes just as nice as more expensive models and I definitely do not regret buying this pen.

It's attractive resin cap and barrel is quite an attention grabber and the pen has drawn a number of favorable comments from those who've seen it. I chose the more conservative Ocean Blue color which contrasts nicely with the silver plated clip and band, yet it's not at all boring to look at. I did get to see the Royal Purple and Lime Green version which is a very bright green indeed. If you want to draw someone's attention with a pen, the Lime Green version will certainly do it. No matter what color you choose, you'll find that the Conklin Mark Twain is a wonderfully crafted and affordable lightweight pen that is both a pleasure to look at and use.
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#2 Roger

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Posted 08 August 2005 - 15:58

Just what I don't need, Apollo, another pen to look at! :P But I will! :lol:

Thanks for the review. How can I not have a look at a pen that bears the name of a much revered writer like MT? :)
Roger
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#3 Apollo

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Posted 08 August 2005 - 22:25

Roger, it's definitely worth a look. It's a very nice looking pen as you can see here:

Pic courtesy of WorldLux
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I'll try and upload a few pictures of my sample as soon as I can find my camera. I haven't a clue as to where it is at the moment. :blink:
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#4 Maja

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Posted 10 August 2005 - 05:08

Thanks for the review, Apollo. It's a handsome pen, indeed. I love using my Conklin Glider fountain pen...It's stiff as a nail, but writes very well...and I love the "koi" (red and white) swirly pattern on it.... :)
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#5 Apollo

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Posted 10 August 2005 - 13:39

It sure is a handsome pen. The steel nib is a little stiff, but smooth. Here are a couple of pics of my sample:

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#6 Roger

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Posted 10 August 2005 - 14:19

Thanks, Apollo. At first, I kept looking for the crescent filler in your pictures, then finally realized that this a new Mark Twain commemorative. :blush: I love economical good writing pens that still look good to the eye.

I might even have a look at it in that green color. I need a decidely green pen to keep inked with my Noodler's Eternal Verdun. Though green isn't my fav., my mother used green ink all during my formative years, so it will be a tip o' the hat to her. :)
Roger
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#7 Apollo

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Posted 10 August 2005 - 16:51

Hi Roger, I've seen pictures of the Mark Twain Crescent collection on Conklin's site, but I haven't seen any in stores yet. I think you'll like the MT Signature pen though. The "Lime Green" version is quite attractive, but it is bright. It'll certainly stand out.

Pic is from ConklinPen.com
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Posted Image Bendita mi tierra guanche.

#8 southpaw

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Posted 11 August 2005 - 00:49

Apollo, thanks for the review. I had looked at these and passed for the moment. Thanks for giving me some good info on it. I'm putting it back on my list. I too like the looks of the ocean blue.
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#9 Maja

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Posted 11 August 2005 - 06:16

Thanks, Apollo. At first, I kept looking for the crescent filler in your pictures, then finally realized that this a new Mark Twain commemorative. :blush: I love economical good writing pens that still look good to the eye.

Me too! :) I looked up the price and thought it would be a lot more expensive; it's actually about the same price as the Conklin Glider. Like Roger, I was expecting to see a picture of the crescent-filler model :blush:

Thanks again for bringing our attention to this pen, Apollo!
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#10 Apollo

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Posted 11 August 2005 - 10:33

No problem. It's a superb pen for the money and if you like the Glider, you'll certainly like the Mark Twain. I like it so much that I want to get another one in a different color (along with a Conklin Duragraph, Coronet and Glider).
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#11 Scottish007

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Posted 16 August 2005 - 19:59

Thanks for the great review Apollo.

I recently purchased a Conklin Mark Twain Signature Fountain Pen. I love the look, feel and price of the pen, but I must confess that my pen skips a great deal (it is a fine nib). When it writes, it is beautiful (if not a tiny bit longer than my normal pens). I have used my sonic cleaner, but I have yet to eliminate the skip :angry: . Apart from that, the pen is beautiful and attracts a great deal of positive comments from my friends.

Scottish007
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#12 Apollo

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Posted 16 August 2005 - 23:04

I Scottish007, that doesn't sound too good. My Mark Twain has a fine nib and writes everytime. No skipping at all. You may want to take it back to the dealer and see if they'll let you exchange it for another. Do you have to force feed the pen? The Noble Savage reported that he had a Conklin Nozac that would write with what was in the Nib/Feed. Once it went dry he would have to prime the feed with ink from the converter. Does yours do the same?
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#13 Scottish007

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Posted 17 August 2005 - 02:23

Apollo:

I actually received an offline reply to flush with a little soap. Worked very well. Now the pen appears to be running very well. Hopefully, I will be fine from here on out.

Thanks for your reply!

Scottish007
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#14 Bryan

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Posted 17 August 2005 - 02:32

Apollo:

I actually received an offline reply to flush with a little soap. Worked very well. Now the pen appears to be running very well. Hopefully, I will be fine from here on out.

Thanks for your reply!

Scottish007

Good to hear. It is one of the best little tricks I've learned for breaking in a new pen.

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#15 Sonnet

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Posted 27 September 2005 - 02:02

I got a purple Conklin Mark Twain Signature fountain pen. 'Tis pretty and writes well so far.

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#16 Ann Finley

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Posted 17 October 2005 - 04:00

I might even have a look at it in that green color. I need a decidely green pen to keep inked with my Noodler's Eternal Verdun.


OK, Roger, I got the green one--did you?

I'm very pleased with the pen. And I would think a man, especially, might be pleased with the alligator-type clip. You can see in one of the pics below that the top of the clip isn't attached to the cap...You press the top and the clip opens for easy insertion into a pocket.

I could have done without as much iridescence, but the pen is still pretty. My fine nib writes well (and the color of the pen matches my favorite green ink mix! :))
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In this photo you can get an idea of what I said with regard to the clip.
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I could agree that the pen color is lime if it looked like it does in this photo--but fortuately, it looks like it is depicted in the other photos.
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#17 TheNobleSavage

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Posted 17 October 2005 - 04:32

I Scottish007, that doesn't sound too good. My Mark Twain has a fine nib and writes everytime. No skipping at all. You may want to take it back to the dealer and see if they'll let you exchange it for another. Do you have to force feed the pen? The Noble Savage reported that he had a Conklin Nozac that would write with what was in the Nib/Feed. Once it went dry he would have to prime the feed with ink from the converter. Does yours do the same?

Yeah, I had that problem with the Conklin/Swisher Nozac LE pen with the optional 14kt gold nib. When It wrote, it was absoutly fantastic. But the problem was that there was no ink being fed to the feed. Chuck Swisher checked it out twice but still couldnt figure it out. So needless to say, I had to return it. Too bad because I really liked the color and the size of the pen. Maybe I will try another in the future (used) but who knows what the future brings.

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#18 Apollo

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Posted 17 October 2005 - 10:22

Ann, congrats on your Conklin pen. The pocket clip design is one that I really like as it makes it easy to clip the pen to thick clothing. That is one bright shade of green, eh? It's iridescence reminds me of Mountain Dew (the soft drink) or even anti-freeze. :D


***UPDATE***

I think it's time I updated this thread in regards to the Mark Twain Signature Pen and Conklin Duragraph.

I began to notice that at times it wouldn't start, particulaly if the pen hat been sitting for a day or two. It was as if whatever ink left in the feed had settled back into the converter or the feed had just dried out. I noticed the same thing happening with my Duragraph. Needless to say, I found that they were not the most reliable writers unless the feeds were saturated with ink. Tired of having to prime the nibs every other day to make them write, I ended off trading the Mark Twain and selling the Duragraph.

Since the look and feel of the Duragraph made such an impression on me the first time around, I decided to get another (also in Cobalt Blue) several months later. Unfortunately, my second Duragraph proved to be very disappointing. First, the nib was defective. The very tip of the nib would grind against each other when writing and get out of alignment, but that wasn't the only issue. I had been using Private Reserve inks and the flow was horrible. Frustrated, I switched to Waterman Florida Blue to see if the ink flow would improve. It did not. Repeated flushing of the converter did not help either. I then began using cartridges, but got the same results. Then there was the issue with the nib. Emailing Conklin had not helped since they don't seem to respond to emails since their move to New Jersey. As such, I took matters into my own hands.

First thing I did was remove the nib and feed. Just a little tug and they both slide out. This is where I discovered that the main slot on the feed (the part where the nib is laid against) wasn't fully cut. I took an X-acto knife to it lightly in order to deepen the channel. This greatly improved the ink flow except for the problem with the nib's tip. Flossing the nib slit didn't seem to fix the problem either. So, I had to borrow a generic IPG nib from my Monteverde Regatta which happened to be a perfect fit. The flow improved greatly, but after a couple of days, it began behaving like my first Duragraph. Frustrated again, I swapped the nib/feed unit from a Danit Trio-Avant Garde and tested it. It wrote like a champion. I then set it aside for a couple of days, then tested it again and it began writing immediately and reliably. So, the issue was the feed used on the Duragraph.

In the end, I traded the pen with the generic IPG nib to another happy user. I for one am so disappointed with the lack of quality control and the apparent disregard for consumer concerns on Conklins behalf, that I will never buy another Conklin pen again unless I hear that their quality and customer service have improved.

Edited by Apollo, 20 March 2006 - 13:52.

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#19 Ann Finley

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Posted 17 October 2005 - 12:57

Thanks, Apollo. Yes, it's a bright shade and close to being my favorite, which would be just a little darker/deeper.

:) Ann

#20 Roger

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Posted 17 October 2005 - 13:28

OK, Roger, I got the green one--did you?

No I didn't yet, Ann, but I'm much obliged for your photos. That is a bit more iridescence than I would like, also. The plus side is that it does compliment your ink color so well. :) My two green inks are Verdun and Green Marine. The Verdun wouldn't be bad with that pen color.
Roger
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