About This Model
Sheaffer’s Balances, both Lifetime and non-Lifetime, appeared in 1929 and were Sheaffer’s top production lines from the early 1930’s until after WWII. They were available in numerous lengths, girths, colors and patterns, filled by lever or plunger, and were well enough made that now, with a cleaning and filling system restoration, they make excellent and durable pens. There were two distinct levels: Lifetime and not-Lifetime. Lifetime models, from the 1920 pre-Balance years, carried Lifetime nibs and a white dot to signify the pen as a Lifetime. Although the Lifetime guarantee, which was really service, continued for many years, after WWII the white dot was used to denote higher level pens, and then became Sheaffer’s brand identifier. Non-Lifetime pens had lower trim levels but were made of the same components; their nibs were very good and were often much softer and easier to write with than Lifetimes.
About This Pen
Sheaffer’s transition from Lifetimes to Balances basically happened during 1929 and 1930; in both years both “flat-top” and “torpedo” styles were offered, but the former was waning and the latter growing. This ringtop Balance is from 1930, and a 5-30 model, the “5” for the nib size and the “30” for the length of Sheaffer’s guarantee in years. This was their middle line, between Lifetime, which carried a “lifetime” guarantee, and the 3-25 line.
This pen is in one of the two first patterns available in Radite, Sheaffer’s proprietary celluloid, black and pearl (the other was black), and it is a ladies’ size, shorter, at 4 ¼” long capped, and close to full girth, at .4” just below the cap lip. The ringtop is original and in excellent condition. The nib, no surprise here, is the Sheaffer 5-30, and like every one I’ve used, it’s a firm fine. For once, I’ll admit that this is a pen that needs to be posted to be held in a larger hand, but it’s not uncomfortable unposted in a smaller hand. It’s a clean, shiny, very nice pen that can take a lot of use.