In the spirit of the Fourth of July weekend, I'll be reviewing the Conklin All-American Fountain Pen. I'd first like to thank Pen Chalet for sponsoring this review! They are a premier retailer for all kinds of fine-writing instruments. Use the coupon code "FREEDOM" to save 10% on the total purchase price. Act quickly as the sale ends Monday, July 4th, 2016.
The Conklin All-American Yellowstone is one of Conklin's All-American pens offered in 5 distinct color patterns. The All-American initially was released in the 1930's at the onset of the Great Depression—focusing on an affordable price. Today, it still remains a great pen at a pretty decent price point.
It comes in a traditional Conklin "leatherette" box with an embossed Conklin logo and gold trim. Inside, you'll find the pen tucked in a satin-like plushy cushion—albeit loosely held by the strap. Taking away the baseplate, you'll find the standard Conklin warranty and care card, as well as 2 standard-international cartridges.
The first thing that strikes me about the pen is the beautiful resin swirls and the contrast between the light yellow and deep black. I find this color pattern to be one of the most stunning and eye-catching of the 5 designs to chose from. The second thing that's apparent is the large size of the pen. This is definitely a larger-than-most pen, trumping even the Visconti Homo Sapiens Bronze Edition. However, despite it's large girth, it is quite light and maintains a decent balance in the hand. I found its combination of girth, length, and weight to be just perfect in my hand. Those that prefer smaller pens should definitely look away.
The pen features a gold-colored spring-loaded clip. To use, simply push on the top, and the clip opens up quite wide, allowing you to clip onto even the thickest pen cases and shirt pockets. I found it quite useful when trying to hook it onto a thicker leather pouch like the Galen Leather Pen Roll. Personally, I find this to be a great design and more manufacturers should really rid of the tight, small clips. The clip is also embossed with the Conklin brand, giving it a nice accent.
The cap of this pen sits slightly higher than the rest of the body, making opening the pen slightly easier. The cap is screw-threaded like most Conklin pens, taking 2.25 rotations to fully remove. The threads of this pen are very well made and the cap almost glides when turning. This cap posts nicely on the back of the pen, and does not impact the balance too noticeably. It does add a bit of length, so again, smaller hands may have an issue. I'm indifferent between posting and not, but my hands are above average in size.
The pen features a stainless steel two-tone nib with the Conklin logo. The nib comes in a Fine (F), Medium (M), and Stub. While Conklin does not provide exact dimensions for their stub nib, it appears to be either a 1.1mm or a .9mm stub. Out of the box, the nib came out fairly scratchy, but I can only assume I got a dud, considering my previously good experience with Conklin nibs. A bit of tine alignment and smoothing cleared up the problem right away.
The pen fills with a standard-international threaded cartridge/converter. This is a fairly standard filling system, but I would have preferred that the pen better utilize its large barrel room. A piston or a vacuum filler would have been amazing, given how much ink the barrel could hold. If you are so inclined, you can always turn the pen into an eyedropper, but I would not recommend it, due to the risk of possible staining and ruining the color of the acrylic resin. On the barrel, you'll also find a shallow engraving of the Conklin logo, Toledo, Ohio, USA, and "All-American". This engraving is quite shallow and not really noticeable except for the tactile feel.
Here's a writing sample with the Stub nib and J. Herbin's Rouge Hematite on a Rhodia Ice No. 16 Lined Pad. After a bit of further tuning, the nib got quite wet and very smooth at the right angle.
The pen comes out to 5.67" (14.5cm) capped and 6.6" (16.8cm) posted. It has a barrel diameter of 0.7" (1.78cm) and weighs 1oz (28.4g). The pen has an MSRP of $95.00, a solid price for a pen of this caliber. You can find this pen at Pen Chalet here, as well the rest of their huge lineup of products.
Thanks again to Pen Chalet for sponsoring this post and providing a review pen! This review consists of my genuine thoughts and was not influenced in any way to provide a positive review.