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
This is a very nice Balance, usually called “oversize” but not by Sheaffer, where it was the 8TC, the largest Lifetime model of the early 1930’s. It’s a touch longer than 5.5″ capped, but almost a half-inch wide below the cap edge. This is a very nice, very dressy pen that feels wonderful in a larger hand. The imprint is quite deep and full, and the pen is very clean, almost without scratches. The trim is tarnish free. The nib is the correct Lifetime, sunk a bit deeper than normal, although it holds well. I suspect that the gripping section might not be the original, because it is discolored; this might have been the cause of the nib fit, and the pen’s price accommodates this. The nib writes a typically firm and smooth fine to very fine. This pen has a bonus: two, count ’em, two personalizations! Both Leon G. Cotton and R. Chagnon were imprinted professionally; I believe the latter was Sheaffer’s factory personalization. A discount will be available for a buyer with either of those names!