Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Conklin All American Fountain Pen Review

Video Time Markers:
  • Conklin History - (0:14)
  • Price - (1:48)
  • Unboxing - (2:31)
  • Color Options - (4:06)
  • Features - (6:00)
  • Comparable Pens - (8:02)
  • Nib Information - (10:16)
  • Filling Mechanisms – (11:40)
  • Engraving – (12:35)
  • Inking it up - (14:11)
  • How it writes - (15:39)
Conklin is a pen brand that's been around for a long time, though it's a relatively recent addition to our store. We stated carrying the Duragraph back in December, and they've just released a new pen called the Conklin All American that we wanted to showcase for you here today.

Left to right: Sunburst Orange, Tortoiseshell, Yellowstone
The Conklin Pen Company was established in 1898 and is still regarded as one of the most significant and innovative manufacturers from what is today known as the Golden Era of fountain pens. During the 1930s, at the dawn of the depression, Conklin launched a collection that was priced more affordably to the general public. The “All American” collection was offered in a variety of sizes, filling mechanisms and finishes with the aim of satisfying a growing market demand for good quality, but affordably priced writing instruments. This pen pays homage to the classic designs of the vintage Conklin era.

The new All American collection draws its inspiration from the rich heritage of the Conklin brand, which was purchased and revived by Yafa in 2009. The rebooted All American is manufactured overseas, assembled and distributed from Canoga Park, California, and pays tribute to its roots with a “Toledo, Ohio” engraving on its nib and barrel.

The All American comes in three different resins: Sunburst Orange, Tortoiseshell, and Yellowstone. They're turned from solid cast-resins that give the material a beautiful depth and pearlescence.

Conklin All American (left to right: Tortoiseshell, Yellowstone, Sunburst Orange)
Available in fine, medium, and 1.1mm stub nibs, the stainless steel nibs are smooth with some light feedback, and write fairly wet (especially the stub). The fine and medium are two-tone with a crescent-shaped breather hole, the stub is all polished-steel with a round breather hole. We're really not sure why they're different, that's just how they're coming! If you're familiar with the Conklin Duragraph, they have the exact same nib and feed here, so it'll be an identical writing experience.

The pen is a pretty good weight at 31g, and large overall. It's going to be a comfortable pen for large-handed folks, similar in size to an Edison Collier. It is a screw-cap that pushed on to post the cap on the back of the pen, though because it's such a large pen the posting will back-weight the pen pretty well. It's likely that you'll want to write with it unposted.

The pen is a standard international cartridge/converter pen. It is large enough to accept both short and long cartridges, and comes with a threaded converter (which is nice because it'll stay tightly latched onto the pen when filling from a bottle). Unfortunately the pen can't be converted to an eyedropper-fill because of the metal threads on the back of the grip, though.

There is a handy 'rocker' clip that you can push on to make it easier to clip onto a pocket or pen case, it's quite handy. The embellishments on the pen are pretty minimal, so the material of the pen really stands out.

There is an engraving on the barrel that shows how “Toledo, Ohio” will read as, “Toledo, Hoio” on a large percentage of the fountain pens. This cosmetic irregularity occurred in the initial production run, adding to the story and potentially the collectability of the All American. We expect to have these for the first two or three months of the pen’s release, then Conklin will correct it with the next shipment.

The All American is a good "large" pen for only $76 at GouletPens.com. Pens made of cast resin like this are often much more expensive, so it's definitely worth a look if you want to get a "next step up" from a starter pen. Once you're pretty well sold on the fountain pen idea, the Conklins are definitely worth a look.

Write On,
Brian Goulet


  1. Did you notice they misspelled Ohio on the pen?

  2. “Toledo, Hoio”

    I do not think this imprint error makes the pen more "collectable". In-fact this obvious flaw is preventing me from buying.

    If and when you start shipping non-defective versions of this pen, please announce it in your communique.

  3. That's a really nice looking pen. I bought the Conklin Duragraph and am very impressed with the quality and nib. I'll definitely put this in my list for future consideration, although I think I prefer the styling and girth of the Duragraph. However that orange one really beckons...hmmm.... :)

  4. Yaknee craftmanship at its finest. Mmmm, that tortoiseshell is dreamy ...

  5. J. Herbin does sell a converter for that rollerball. I own four of them. I thought I bought them from you years ago. It will not convert to an eyedropper because of the holes in the top. Been there tried that, messed up a shirt.

    Clearly I love this Q & A because I listen to it every week while I work on my art. I even go back and binge listen to the whole list occasionally. Love the new organized format. Would love it even more if you had stuff ready. I know some of it is off the cuff but you searching for something and not finding it to show is a let-down on this end. Sometimes I think, "Dude! You knew you were going to talk about that pen/ink/paper!"

    Keep writing on. I'll keep listening and sending people your way.


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