When this one popped up in an online auction, I thought the seller was confused and posted the wrong pictures with the pencil:
That’s a Cross, I thought to myself. But yet there was something a little weird about it; I wondered why the top was silver instead of black. Here’s the online find shown next to a typical Cross Century ballpoint:
But when this one arrived in the mail, I was pleasantly surprised that yes, in fact, the seller had described it accurately. This one is no Cross:
It’s an Esterbrook. There’s no question in my mind that it was made by Cross for Esterbrook, probably in the late 1940s or early 1950s. With such a long run for the Cross Century, you might wonder how I know that – the answer is found on the advertising medallion mounted at the top of the clip. The medallion was the reason I would have bought this one no matter who made it:
“Oldsmobile Service Guild.” I’ve always been an Oldsmobile fan, and when I’m not playing with pencils, I’m messing around with the ‘66 Cutlass I’ve been working on for the last year. This logo, with the cartoon-like rocket, was first used by Oldsmobile when the company first introduced its line of “Rocket” engines in the late 1940s.
The auto theme on this Esterbrook also explains why I chose to show it compared to a Cross ballpoint, rather than a pencil. I just love the medallion on that one, which earned it a place as one of only a handful of ballpoints in my collection:
Quite the action pose for the Michelin Man! What’s more, the Cross has an interesting imprint at the top you don’t usually see:
“10K Gold Filled USA / Electroplated Emblem.” Now that’s truth in advertising!