A global writing instrument brand established in 1846 with the longest history in the industry in the United States Alonzo Townsend Cross, the eldest son of the founder of Cross, invented a "telescopic pencil" and "stylographic pen", the prototype of ballpoint pen, revolutionizing writing instruments of that time. "Century", which was released in 1946, transcended writing instruments to become a "style" with its sophisticated design and functionality, and still is loved today as an icon of high-end ballpoint pens.
The Cross Pen Company Founded
The Cross Pen Company, America's oldest manufacturer of fine writing instruments, was established in 1846 by Richard Cross and Edward W. Bradbury.
The family had moved from England to the New World, America, and started a business in Providence, Rhode Island, manufacturing elegantly tooled gold and silver castings of wooden pencils.
1846 was a memorable year: as well as the foundation of Cross, Richard Cross' eldest son, Alonzo Townsend Cross was born. He would become an innovator of his time.
Alonzo Received First Patent
In 1873, Alonzo received his first patent in the U. S. and invented pencil cases and pen holders.
In the 1880s, Alonzo invented the "telescopic pencil", which could be extended and retracted freely like a telescope. Fascinated people called it "magic". He also invented the forerunner of modern ballpoint pens, the "stylographic pen", and the prototype of modern mechanical pencils, the "crayon holder". He received 26 patents in the U. S. and 7 patents in the U. K.
Cross Factory was established at 53 Warren Street, Providence, Rhode Island. The factory was operated by a 10 horse power steam engine. Cross Factory would serve the company for the next 80 years.
The "Peerless" Fountain Pen
Cross created its very first fountain pen in Providence, Rhode Island. It was called "Peerless" because it had no peers to match its exquisite design, and quickly became an American classic of writing instruments.
1st Boss Family Member
In the years to follow, the Boss Family became an integral part of Cross history. The first family member to work for Alonzo Cross was 12 year old Ellery Boss. Ellery would work after school helping out where he could, slowly learning the trade. In later years he would lead the development of Cross ballpoint pen technology.
Ellery Boss, featured in center
Walter R. Boss Manages the Company
The second Boss to work for Cross was Walter R. Boss. Walter quickly learned the trade and had a passion to keep the Cross business alive as the sales representative and mechanical engineer. He purchased Cross in 1916. The Boss family would take over the business of Cross in the following years.
Under the management of the Boss family, Cross continuously developed writing instruments with an ever increasing sophistication of design.
In 1918, "Alwrite" with a beautifully colored body, and in 1935, "Signet", the predecessor of Cross' flagship product "Century" were released.
The Boss family continued to manage the business until September 2013.
Renowned for Corporate Gifts
As this 1940s advertisement depicts, Cross was renowned for their custom corporate gift (novelty) services. Cross launched what would have been utterly unforeseeable at the foundation of the company: a novelty line of pencils, letter openers, rulers, screws and more.
Birth of the Century
In 1946, Cross launched the "Century Pencil" to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the company. The Century Collection, featuring an elegant form and conical point, became an iconic design of Cross. The "Century Ballpoint Pen", released in 1953, was called an icon of American writing instruments and became a hit product.
The "Lifetime Mechanical Warranty" for writing instruments was introduced in 1949 and has been continued to this day as a practice to represent Cross' craftsmanship and its confidence in the quality of its products.
The Boss Legacy Continues
In 1958 a third generation of the Boss family joins Cross.
Brad Boss, shown to the right with Russ Boss (served Cross between 1937–1988).
Brad would one day be CEO of the Cross Brand. Brad handed over his CEO position to Ron Boss and continued as Chairman until he retired in 1999.
Cross Expanded Internationally
In 1970, Cross opened its first international subsidiary, Cross Company of Japan, Ltd. Starting from here, Cross has expended its distribution network globally.
Image of a young woman at a department store in Tokyo selecting a Cross ballpoint pen to commemorate her "coming of age day".
In 1971, Cross went public on AMEX (current NYSE Amex) under the management of Brad and Ron.
Release of the Townsend
The Townsend Collection, named after Alonzo Townsend Cross, the eldest son of the founder, features a full-bodied Art Deco design, stable wide-diameter body, and double bands in the center.
The Townsend Collection offers fountain pens, pencils, ballpoint pens, and Selectip rollerballs.
To this day it's known as the "Pen of U. S. Presidents".
In 1996, A.T. Cross Company commissioned Whitechapel Bell Foundry, a bell factory in London, the oldest manufacturing company in the U.K., to manufacture a bell and presented it as a gift to the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C., which also celebrated its 150th anniversary that year.
Since 2000, Cross has released collections of contemporary designs, such as "ATX", which broadened the concept of writing instruments. Cross is also expanding its scope beyond writing instruments, to time pieces and accessories.
Make Your Mark Campaign Launched
Since 2013, A.T. Cross has been affiliated with Clarion, an American investment company.
In 2014, Cross released its high-end collection "Peerless 125", commemorating the 125th anniversary of the release of the first Cross fountain pen.
In 2015, Cross re-branded itself. Using black and golden-yellow as the basic tones, the new brand logo features a lion as its symbol.
Cross supports those with great dreams and aspirations for success, with a slogan "Make Your Mark".
The premium 21K solid gold diamond-embellished "21st Century" is released to commemorate the 170th anniversary of Cross.