Last ditch attempt: can I get my husband’s 1987 cross pen working again?
May 27, 2021 11:55 AM   Subscribe

My husband received a cross pen for his bar mitzvah in 1987. The ink has now died. We’d like to get a refill for it but we haven’t had any luck (picture inside).

A picture of the pen and the original ink and the refill that we tried to buy is here:

The refill is just slightly too big so the ink doesn’t fit through the top of the pen. (Picture here:

Any one have any ideas? I did try contacting Cross with no luck.
posted by eleanna to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
There appears to be a small plastic cap on the top of the refill (probably to stop it leaking). Have you tried taking that off?
posted by Happy Dave at 12:08 PM on May 27, 2021 [5 favorites]

Not sure which model you have, but a quick look on fountainpennetwork shows comments that many Cross pens have changed sizes in recent years so that the genuine refills don't fit.

I wonder if there's an off-brand refill that could substitute...
posted by Sockin'inthefreeworld at 12:38 PM on May 27, 2021

Have you tried ebay? A search for "cross pen vintage refill" came up with this bunch of various old Cross refills for an opening bid of $10, but if none of them are right (and for 10 bucks you could probably afford to take a gamble to find out?) then maybe you could find the same pen, buy it, and take out the refill from that?
posted by underclocked at 12:59 PM on May 27, 2021 [2 favorites]

Best answer: There are a handful of people selling vintage Cross refills on Etsy as well, and many Etsy sellers will be willing to answer questions or even measure the refill or something if that would help.
posted by mskyle at 1:02 PM on May 27, 2021 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Do you have a brick and mortar fancy pen/stationary store nearby? A real person who has experience with fancy pens can probably troubleshoot.
posted by latkes at 1:10 PM on May 27, 2021 [2 favorites]

Cross has a lifetime warranty on all their pens. While this isn't exactly a warranty issue, you might be able to get help from them. Their number is listed on this page.

Oops, upon edit, I see you already tried to contact Cross. Sorry I missed it the first time.
posted by alex1965 at 1:39 PM on May 27, 2021 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I've had excellent experience with the people at Jetpens looking for rare/ odd replacements.
posted by porpoise at 1:42 PM on May 27, 2021

Laywine's is/was the place to go for quality stationery things.
posted by scruss at 1:44 PM on May 27, 2021

Best answer: Contact the Fountain Pen Hospital (est. 1946) for a right-size (probably non-Cross) refill.
posted by Iris Gambol at 5:24 PM on May 27, 2021 [2 favorites]

Best answer: If you have the dried out refill you can rinse it out and refill it. An eyedropper or a small syringe will work. I did one about a week ago, and it works fine. This also gives you a choice of ink colors.
posted by AugustusCrunch at 6:18 PM on May 27, 2021 [3 favorites]

Came in to say Fountain Pen Hospital. They are reliable in bringing pens back from the dead.
posted by blnkfrnk at 12:26 AM on May 28, 2021

+1 Fountain Pen Hospital. There is probably a refill out there that will fit, they will know if there is.

You could also try to rinse it out and refill, there are converter kits that might work. This is a very popular option among enthusiasts with vintage pens.
posted by epanalepsis at 6:29 AM on May 28, 2021

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