I found this pen, completely by accident, one day at the flea-market. It was sitting with another pen (A Swan lever-filler, which I passed on), in a display case. I had to have it. I bought it at $10 off, and took it home. The pen was in near-mint condition. It has very light, almost imperceptable browning and a tiny bit of brassing on the crescent, but is otherwise perfect. The chasing was strong and clear and the imprints were crisp and legible. I really felt like I'd just bought it brand new - whoever owned this pen before I found it, took good care of it.
Appearance and Finish
Plain as nearly all BHR fountain pens are, I thought its simplicity was charming, and that the wavy, striped chasing really gave a feel as to its age and the era from which it came. The pen was completely unblemished, save for some light browning. No chips, cracks, scratches, scrapes, dings, engravings, gouges or anything else. The black rubber was shiny and smooth.
Size & Weight
The Conklin Crescent-Filler is surprisingly slim and delightfully light,. I hadn't imagined that it would be this slim. It's 6/16ths of an inch in diameter, and 5 & 7/16ths of an inch long (capped), and 6 & 13/16ths of an inch long, (posted). I could write with it for any length of time and not feel tired by it. Its simple construction means that there's no complex internal filling mechanism to weigh down the pen-barrel. The cap, which does not have a clip (and which, by the looks of it, never did), is almost featherweight. Posting it on the end of the barrel makes no difference in how the pen balances in my hand. That said, I don't post my pens anyway.
The original nib for this pen was a Conklin #3 "Toledo". Regrettably, its tipping had gone AWOL, so I had the nib replaced. The original nib was rather stiff. The replacement nib, also a Conklin Toledo, was medium flex, with plenty of tipping. It writes a fine, but can flex to bold, 1mm wide, not exactly a wet noodle, but still nice. The nib itself is smooth on the page, with a miniscule amount of 'tooth' or 'feedback'. It's truly a pleasure to write with.
The famous crescent filling-system; its simple, smooth, no-fuss, no-mess filling-system makes the Conklin crescent-filler an instant winner in this category. Turn the ring, press the crescent, release, press, release, turn the locking-ring, clean the tip, done. Can all easily be done with one hand. While bulky, the filling-system is unique and the pen is instantly recognised as a vintage Conklin. Also, the crescent-filler prevents the pen from rolling off a flat surface, like a desk.
Cost & Value
This pen cost me $70 initially, +$45 for the new nib. I reckon it was money well spent. For what I paid, I got a near-mint antique pen which is a pleasure and cinch to use, and for a bit more, I got an excellent, smooth, flexible nib.
Light, easy to use, representative of the Edwardian & WWI era, an iconic piece of writing history and a marevellous writer, the Conklin crescent-filler is an excellent and worthy addition to any collection and a fine and comfortable pen to use when writing anything, from filling out paperwork to writing your next great novel.
[Photos will come soon]
Edited by Shangas, 02 December 2008 - 14:45.