Sheaffer 5-30

About This Model

Pre-Balance 1920’s Sheaffer pens have been commonly, but not properly, called “flat-tops”, for their flat-ended caps and barrels. Properly, they were called by their model names.  They included Lifetimes, with the white dot, 14k trim, and Lifetime nib; “Regular” line without the white dot and with plated trim; and “Ebony” line, of black hard rubber, both chased and unchased.  Lifetimes and Regulars came in hard rubber and Radite, Sheaffer's branded celluloid, in jade and then various patterns. And, there were 46's, a line of flat-topped clipped and ringtop pens made for secretarial use. These were made in black and bright scarlet Radite, and were very solid, well-made pens.

In particular, 1928-31 were very important years in American pens: the main shift from ebonite to celluloid. Parker and Sheaffer both made significant innovative and strategic shifts. 1928 marked the first appearance of Jade celluloid, and 1929 the first Balances. Sheaffer continued its production of the “flat-top” Lifetimes throughout the 1930s, but as of 1929 they were no longer the premier model.

About This Pen

The 5-30 (and 7-30; first number was price, second the years of its warranty) models were full-sized, fully appointed pens, with very large nibs. While these were not the Lifetimes, with their White Dots, the pens matched their quality. This pen, a full-size ringtop 5-30, 4.6″ long capped and almost .6″ across, is a pleasure to hold and an even greater pleasure to write with. With one nick in the edge of the base, and a smallest bit of swelling on its 94-year old body, it is an unusually nice example. The gold trim is clean and unmarked. The 5-30 imprint at the top of the cap and the barrel imprint are complete. It fills well and holds a tremendous quantity of ink (size 20 sac!). The treasure, however, is the nib, gold and simply marked “Sheaffer 5-30”, which writes a perfectly firm fine/medium line, fast, wet and surprisingly smooth. This is a treasure for the writer who likes a full-girth pen.

This pen is not for sale.