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The short-lived Masquerade


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One of the curious features of the A.T. Cross story is how certain editions run and run whilst others seem to melt away in no time and then are gone forever.   One such vanisher is the mysterious Masquerade.


Masquerade was a richly engraved confection that appeared briefly around 2011.  It was built on the chassis of a Cross Century II, with some nice added detail.   Its most distinguishing characteristic was a highly developed lacquer pattern involving a delicate metallic inlay.  I believe it was issued in three distinct versions, one a peacock green, one with red detailing and a third, the chromatic details of which I have forgotten.  Years later Cross producted the Botanica range and then the Wanderlust designs.  These may share something of the free-form spirit of the Masquerade but--in my opinion--none of the finesse.


What happened to the Masquerade?  Oddly enough, you might say it fell half-formed from the womb.  There was a ballpoint version and a mechanical pencil (basically the same creature with a different mechanism) but never, so far as I know, a rollerball or, sadly, a fountain pen.  Now that would have been something, especially with a rhodium plated 14K gold nib to match the silvery furnishings.


A common notion that swirls around short-lived pens (the formidable Parker Elliipse, for example) is that they were "too expensive" to produce.   Maybe that's true. The company (as it now exists) almost certainly won't say and probably doesn't know.  


Maybe, in some forgotten vault in Rhode Island, there is an exquisite hoard of unissued Masquerade fountain pens, waiting to be discovered.  If so, put me down for one (with a fine 14K nib). 



"They come as a boon and a blessing to men,
the Pickwick, the Owl and the Waverley Pen."

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I was not familiar with the model so I did a Google Image search just now -- and you're right, those would have been something I would have bought if they'd made a fountain pen version.  I look at the Botanica and Wanderlust pens every now and then and the price drives me away, but you're right -- the colors of the Masquerade are pretty amazing.

Ruth Morrisson aka inkstainedruth

"It's very nice, but frankly, when I signed that list for a P-51, what I had in mind was a fountain pen."

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