Conklin Mark Twain Crescent Filler Fountain Pen Review

Conklin Mark Twain Crescent Filler
Black / Rose Gold Fountain Pen

– Handwritten Review –


  • Description: A modern recreation of the iconic crescent filling pen from the turn of the 20th century.
  • Nib: 1.1mm steel stub
  • Filling Mechanism: Patented crescent filler
  • Weight: ~31g filled, 19g uncapped
  • Measurements: 5.6″ closed, 6.5″ posted
  • Color Options: Halloween, Mocha, Zebra, Black, Spearmint (Check them out here!)

Handwritten Review Scans:


Conklin Mark Twain Crescent Filler Fountain Pen Review 2

Huge thanks to Ron at Pen Chalet for sending me a Conklin Crescent Filler over for review. The Conklin Crescent Filler is a modern remake of a vintage classic. The crescent filler is a unique hybrid lever filler that sets the pen apart from it’s modern counterparts. I opted for the 1.1mm stub nib and the black and rose gold finish.

In addition to sending over the pen, Ron is offering a 10% discount code to the readers of the blog. To receive the discount, enter the code “edjelley” in at checkout to take advantage of the offer! The code is valid until February 15th, 2014.


Appearance & Packaging:

Conklin Mark Twain Crescent Filler Fountain Pen Review 3
The black chased finish with the rose gold accents looks great. The cap band, clip, and crescent filler button are all rose gold and they really look great against the black textured finish. The back of the pen is flat, while the cap is rounded off providing a nice visual contrast. The pen looks awesome and does a great job of staying true to its vintage counterpart. My only disappointment is how the nib looks. On the non-stub models, the nibs have a gold accented Conklin logo and a crescent-shaped breather hole. I admit, I didn’t look into it before ordering – but Id like to see the nibs all the same across the board, regardless of the size.

Conklin Mark Twain Crescent Filler Fountain Pen Review 6

The pen has some nice packaging. It comes in a rather large gift box  with a white silk-like lining, contrasting the dark blue outside of the box. While it’s nice to open and look at the first time, I wish pen manufacturers would roll the cost of extravagant packaging back into the pen. The box is large, and will take up quite a bit of room in storage, but once again, I wish that I would be paying more for the pen and less for the box.

Nib Performance & Filling System:

Conklin Mark Twain Crescent Filler Fountain Pen Review
I chose the factory 1.1mm stub nib. It’s nice and smooth, but I feel like the feed may have a bit of trouble keeping up with the flow. When I first uncap the pen and start writing, it lays down a nice wet line. As the page goes on, it seems to dry out a bit. I have only tried one ink in the pen (Stipula Verde Muschiato) and it could very well be that. I feel like the stub could be a little but more crisp though. It’s more than acceptable for a steel nib, but the $156 price tag is well into gold nib territory. I’d be happy to see a gold nib, or something better than a regular steel nib. It’s hard to hold it in high regards when it’s the same price as a Lamy 2000 and more expensive than a Vanishing Point / Namiki Falcon.

Conklin Mark Twain Crescent Filler Fountain Pen Review

The crescent filling system is really what makes the pen stand out from other modern pens. Sure there are tons of piston fillers, vacuum fillers, and cartridge/converter pens, but the crescent is something different. The same crescent filler is seen on the vintage pens by Conklin, and it still works the same way. To fill the pen, you must spin the circular “bead” until the slot in the bead is lined up with the crescent fill button. Once they’re aligned, you submerge the nib into the ink, push down the crescent, and when you release, the sac decompresses, causing a vacuum that sucks ink into the pen. It’s basically a fancy lever filler, but it works very well. The pen holds a good amount of ink and it’s very easy to fill. I suspect that cleaning the pen out may be a bit of a hassle though. If it’s anything like my vintage lever fillers (I’m thinking it will be), it might be hard to get all the ink out of the internal sac. Overall it’s fun to fill, and writing performance is decent, but there are so many other options in this price range that I much prefer.


Conklin Mark Twain Crescent Filler Fountain Pen Review 4

The Conklin Crescent Filler is a solid feeling pen. The grip is smooth and comfortable. The chased black finish adds some nice tactile feel to the pen, which is a welcomed touch. The crescent filler itself is solidly seated in the pen, with no wiggle or give. The spring loaded clip is nice and sturdy as well. The only potential issue I could see is the position of the bead that locks the crescent filler in place. When writing, it hits just in the spot where my thumb and index finger meet. It’s not uncomfortable, but some may find it to be a bit intrusive. The pen is capable of posting, but the cap is heavy and it makes the pen too long and too back-heavy for me to comfortably write. The pen is already a good size for me without posting, so for me it’s not necessary. The chasing on the pen adds some, but not too much texture. It’s definitely in the middle of the road as far as weight goes – being 19g with some ink in it.


  • Great vintage design
  • Crescent filler works very well
  • Nice packaging
  • Black/Rose Gold combo is awesome


  • Price
  • Feed may have trouble keeping up with the stub nib


Conklin Mark Twain Crescent Filler Fountain Pen Review

I’m still not 100% sure how I feel about the Conklin Crescent Filler. The stub writes well, and it looks awesome, but the value just isn’t there for me. $150 can buy a lot of pen, and the price range can get you something with a gold nib. The vintage look, feel, and filling system are all cool and I’m glad the pen is in my collection. The Conklin definitely wouldn’t be my first purchase in the $150 price range, but it’s definitely a cool pen and I’m glad to call it mine.

Thanks again to Ron over at Pen Chalet for sending this over to review, if you’re interested in buying it, check out the product page here, and don’t forget to enter the code “edjelley” at checkout for 10% off of your total order. Even though I may have had some criticisms with the pen, it’s in no way Pen Chalet’s fault – Ron was always quick to respond to emails and was very informative. I’m sure this also applies to his customer service – it was a pleasure to work with them! Note: the discount code is not just for this pen, but the whole site – they have some great stuff!


Disclaimer: This pen was provided to me as a review unit, free of charge, by Pen Chalet. I was not compensated for this review, and this did not have any effect on my thoughts and opinions about the pen. Thank you for reading!

9 thoughts on “Conklin Mark Twain Crescent Filler Fountain Pen Review

  1. This is an excellent version of the Crescent. I’ve got the mocha one (with the same nib), and I like it a lot. My thoughts are kinda the same as yours, though. Its full retail price is too high, and the filling mechanism is difficult to clean out. Fortunately, I got my Crescent at a show for way less than the going rate.

    1. Nice pickup!

      I was sent mine by free of charge, but had I purchased the pen myself, I don’t think I would have been too happy with the price. The nib is pretty much an average 1.1mm stub, and it doesn’t really write any better than a $10 Lamy Z50 1.1 stub. It’s definitely a nice looking pen, and if you can snag one at a good price (like you did) I’m sure it’s all the more enjoyable.

  2. Thanks for the review. 3 years ago I bought two of these because the crescent filling concept obsesses me and I though these would be cheaper than an original from 90 years ago. I bought one with a medium nib and one with a fine nib. The nibs were terrible to put it mildly–very scratchy and certainly far from smooth. I used 4000 grit sand paper on the fine nib to bring it near to usability and I replaced the medium nib with one from an inexpensive chinese FP I bought on ebay. Now the medium one is a great writer!

  3. I tried a Conklin Demonstrator (black trim) today. It’s far too delicate for my needs (I’m an oldschool English professor who writes assignments by hand before typing and posting them). My Pelikan Demonstrator is sturdier.

  4. Thank you. I know this is an older review, but I just purchased and am awaiting a NIB Conklin Mark Twain (Fine) Black Chased Gold… super excited to ink it up. I’m a relative noob amongst sages and I realize that my collection and utilization are far different than many. I’m primarily a low range (<$200) price point primarily F/EF 'user' [except for addressing, signing, acarss, and some letters] who writes all over everything all the time to handle/manage some bad aphasia as a result of two strokes and a traumatic brain injury. I'm never without one or two pens on me and write on everything from the ever present 5"x8" cards (gasp) I use religiously, birthday/thank you cards, lists, journaling in midori/rhodia/mokeskine notebooks, bible study, writing in margins of books, and an average of 5 love letters a week to my bride of 21 years. I swap colors a lot, except for my TWSBI workhorses which stay full of Noodler's Heart of Darkness. It's all the others that get used for letters a what not. I'm quite the Noodler's Nut, but have a pretty broad pallets to experiment. As I prefer something with water resistant qualities. I'be read that it's a wet one or a dry one, and pens vary even within model, but has you dialed in an ink you really like in this. (BTW; my writing is typically on what most would consider the small side).

    So since it's been awhile since the Conklin MT was released, are there any new revelations or ink recommendations you might have after putting some miles on yours?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.