Conklin All American – Yellowstone

Conklin is an old fountain pen brand established in 1898, and was one of the most innovative manufacturers that time. Conklin was responsible for the one of the first practical self-filling fountain pens. In 2009 company was brought by Yafa.  Nowadays, Conklin pens are manufactured in Asia and assembled in California.  Interestingly, I believe as a part of Conklin’s legacy, engraving on the pen body and the nib say ‘Toledo, Ohio’, where  original Conklin Company was established.

Originally, All American series was offered in various different sizes and mechanisms and the purpose was to create a pen which would be more affordable to all general public. Modern Conklin All American has only one design and is available with four different colours : Yellowstone, Tortoise, Sunburst Orange, Old Glory and recently Lapis Blue. There are only three types of steel nibs available (fine, medium and  1.1 mm stub).

Ok, let’s look at the pen. My Conklin All American  I purchased from Cult Pens (UK) came in absolutely beautiful Yellowstone pattern, however I was considering  more classic looking Tortoise as well. The pen is made from molted yellow/orange,  brown and white acrylic resin. With certain light each color give pretty pearl-like shimmering effect. The pen is very well made. The resin is nicely polished and very smooth. All Parts fit well, and there is no sharp edges. Every part is nicely rounded, including thread on the barrel above grip section. Resin is actually pretty thick (about 1.1-1.2 mm on barrel and cap). Pen itself feels substantial, which I personally like a lot. Is large but is not heavy. It feels right in the hand.

Dimensions:

capped: 14.3 mm, uncapped: 12.7 mm, posted: 16.8 mm

Weight:

capped : 32.0 g, uncapped: 18.0 g, cap: 14.0 g

Body contains engraved logo (Trade Conklin mark, Toledo, Ohio, USA, ALL AMERICAN). Famous ‘Rocking Clip’ sits well in the cap and is very springy. It has gold color which nicely blends with yellow/brown colour of the pen. Clip has  Conklin logo engraved as well. I believe only Old Glory comes with the silver clip. Grip section is made from the same resin as the barrel which is always nice feature and usually pen looks more consistent and uniform.

Conklin All American comes with threaded piston converter. Once screwed in it sits well and secure. I think is a nice touch. Unfortunately converter homing is made from metal, so pen can not be converted to eye-dropper.

This is relatively wet-writing fountain pen. My pen is equipped with the dual tone, steel, medium nib, with pretty crescent breather hole. For some reasons 1.1 mm stub nib is monocolour and breather hole is rounded. The medium nib I have writes all right straight out of box, but not superb. Is springy which I like, but it has some feedback, which I do not mind much personally, but for many people who like smoother writing experience  this may be a concerning. Few minutes with fine sand paper and buff does the trick and now my pen writes much nicer. I found this a little unfortunate that Yafa doing such a good job with the pen and finishing, could do a bit better  job with the nib smoothness. It could be smoother than it is and this issue was addressed by other users/reviewers in the past.  The good news is that Conklin’s nib is a standard No 6 nib and if you do not like the original one, nothing stops you to swap it with any No 6 nib you may got from elsewhere (for instance Goulet nibs). I tried with spare semi-flexible Noodler’s Ahab nib, and in my opinion it works pretty well. I would definitely to flush it through with warm soapy water before use. I my case this improved the ink flow. I must admit I have no problems with starting or clogging. I left pen open for longer and every time it wrote straight on with no issues.

Overall, this is hefty and funky looking pen. I really like how it looks and how it feels. I really want to carry this pen everywhere.  The built quality and finish is great. Unique clip is functional too. Unfortunately , the feedback on the nib is a bit on the downside. I found opinion that fine and 1.1 mm stub are smoother than medium.  Easy to fix or replace with other nib (warranty my be an issue here)…but still.

Conklin All American Yellowstone (and other colours) cost around $ 76.0 is US and about the same digit in UK, except currency difference which  makes this pen slightly more expensive (£ 75.0). Personally, I think this is pretty good price (especially in States) for this material and finish.