• Dale Thele

Conklin 1932 "Word Gauge" Fountain Pen


Conklin "Word Gauge" Fountain Pen
Conklin "Word Gauge" Fountain Pen

First established in 1898 in Toledo, Ohio, by founder Roy Conklin, the Conklin Pen company began manufacturing in the golden era of fountain pens and was regarded as one of the most significant and innovative manufacturers of fountain pens. Conklin brand is valued by collectors and admired by fountain pen enthusiasts throughout the world. The company ceased operations in 1948. In 2019 an experienced pen producer in the U.S. purchased the Conklin brand. New materials and technology are now used to produce these original Conklin designs so highly valued by collectors and pen enthusiasts throughout the world.

Conklin "Word Gauge" Fountain Pen
Conklin "Word Gauge" Fountain Pen

Word Gauge series was introduced in 1932. There were the limited edition piston-fill pen with a large yellow translucent view window that was engraved with an exclusive “Word Gauge” - numbered gradations indicating approximately how many words could be written with the remaining ink. Of course, the actual number of words remaining to me written would vary depending on the nib size and the length of words written.

Handcrafted in Italy from solid bars of resin, they were available in a rich traditional ebony Italian resin and lustrous pearlescent Italian blue resin. Both of my limited 1932 edition models are traditional black. The limited edition version originally sold for $295.00. Today’s price varies on the condition of the remaining limited edition “Word Gauge’ from the 1932 run.


Engraved on the barrel is 'Word Gauge' and 'Made in Italy'.


Color: Black with Yellow ink window

Dimensions: 5.375 inches long when closed; 6.5 inches long when cap is posted

Fountain Pen: Closed 5.53 inches – Posted 6.88 inches – Weight 25 gms

Nib Material: Stainless Steel

Nib:, Fine

Filling Mechanism: Piston


Transparent yellow ink reservoir
Transparent yellow ink reservoir with 1000, 2000, 3000, 4000 or 5000 words marks

The “Word Gauge” is an intriguing fountain pen with its unique word count ink window. However, the thick size of the pen body makes the pen awkward to write for extended periods of time. I prefer a thin, lightweight pen for long writing periods. As for the pen predicting the number of words which can be written with the remaining ink in the pen—well, in my opinion, it’s not reliable. However, I do like the ink window so to see how much ink remains in the pen. Many fountain pens provide ink windows, so one can see when the available ink is running low. In my case, I hand write my rough draft with fountain pens. I keep several pens inked. When one pen runs out of ink, I grab another fully filled pen and continue writing without interrupting my train of thought.

 German made stainless steel FINE nib
German made stainless steel FINE nib

As a side note: the new owners of Conklin do manufacture contemporary versions of the “Word Gauge” fountain pen. They are currently marketed under the style name of: “Heritage Word Gauge”.





Dale Thele

fiction with an lgbt twist

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