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Recently bought a vintage Cross Century; leaky, wobbly, not sure what to do?


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I recently bought a vintage Cross Century (classic/Cross Century I from the 80's? it's got the angular nib with just "Cross M" on the nib, black matte finish, but after having looked through a few threads here, I'm even more confused) on eBay. It was cheaper than others, due to used condition and loose clip (not a problem).


Excited, I put a Cross converter I had sitting around in it and enjoyed writing with it; while writing, I noticed it left a smudge of ink on my finger where it rested against the ring. No biggie, I must have overfilled it.


Then the next day, I took the cap off to find lots of ink everywhere inside. No biggie, it must not like being carried around.


Then the same thing again, when it had been sitting without doing anything for a couple days, and leaving smudges of ink on my finger even after wiping clean. Worried, I did some research, and found that old Century fountain pens tend to get a wobbly nib and leak ink, as mentioned in the following threads:




I examined it closely, and can't see any cracks, just scratches, and leakage seems localised to the ring, just above the nib. It writes quite wetly, and the nib has a slight wobble up and down. I suspect it's got the Cross Century problem, and am wondering what I should do.


I've contacted the seller on eBay, as it was advertised as in Working Order, used, with just a loose clip- (https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/304072713942). I know Cross have good guarantees, but I've also heard that they no longer repair these old Century pens and just replace them with a new model. Anyone know if it's repairable or have any advice for what I should do?

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You may want to post your query in the Repair forum. And, you may try to contact Ron Zorn of Main Street Pens (a moderator at FPN) to ask about the problem and repairs. As you are in the UK, I can recommend Battersea Pen Home for the actual repair work.


Good luck!

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I just checked Battersea's Q&A and apparently they don't repair Cross pens. I'll contact Cross directly, as well as Mr. Zorn (does he accept private messages? or would a public post in Repair be better?). Thank you!


PS. Seller's response on eBay:


Hi,sorry for the late reply.
I have no history on the pen as it came in with lots of other pens.
The nib seemed fine when I tested it so not sure why it’s suddenly become loose.
Maybe it needs stripping down cleaning and putting back together.
Regards Nick.


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You might check the converter that you fitted to it. Converters for the early Centurys have a green hue. Cheers, Wayne

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Send it back to the original seller since he guaranteed it as working.  This was a known problem with these pens when they were new back in the 80's- yours probably never got upgraded.


There are plenty of other functional Cross Century pens out there.

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On 9/3/2021 at 8:19 AM, Darthagnon said:

Uh-oh. Do modern Cross push converters not work?

I got my Cross Century for a very good price because the person must have thought the pen was broken but actually it was a cracked Cross converter.

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If the converter has a snug fit on the piercing tube, then I would look elsewhere.  Hard to say what the problem is without seeing the pen.  If the nib is wiggly and loose, then I would look for a damaged feed, or damage (i.e. crack) on the inside of the section. 


It might be hard to see a crack in the section.  You can test for a crack in the section by dampening a paper towel, and with the section flat on the paper towel, roll it 360 degrees.  If there is a crack in the section, ink will show up on the paper towel.


Look for oozing around the clutch ring on the front of the section too. 

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Leaking is a known problem Cross Century and Century II. Wobbly nib again a known problem with Century Pens.

1. Send back to the original seller

2. Replace the section if you can find it - difficult.

3. Get it replaced by a newer more expensive pen by Cross and buy another Old Century - plenty still selling

Enjoy your pens

Have a nice day


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  • 2 weeks later...
On 9/8/2021 at 8:34 PM, Ron Z said:


Look for oozing around the clutch ring on the front of the section too. 

Just came back to FPN to all these replies; Thank you so much for the info, guys! Clutch ring seepage was what I first noticed, on my thumb, seems to be the main issue. I'll contact the seller again. I do have a nasty feeling I may have left it too long, iirc eBay is 2 weeks (and boy, I've had a hell of a 2 weeks), and I was too trigger-happy and left positive feedback when I first inked the pen. I am thinking of sending it to Cross for repairs, since I have another Cross pen, ballpoint, that the plastic tail randomly dropped out; perished/cracked plastic that held it in, and my attempts with jamming paper/leather to hold it in didn't work; get 2 repaired at once under their guarantee, possibly. Will post back with updates


EDIT: after a good night's sleep, I came back to note that I think it's the clutch-ring (I don't know the names of all the parts). I've annotated and attached a photo. It doesn't seem to be user-removable


Edited by Darthagnon
finished sentence
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