Sheaffer Balance

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

After 1936, Sheaffer started moving away from the Balance line, but for five years the changes were mostly in names. Before, their Balances were available in a range of sizes within Balance families like Autograph, Lifetime, Streamline, and Junior. As of 1938, soon after the Vac-Fill plunger pens were introduced, Sheaffer added new names to their quality and size levels, adding Premier, Statesman, Sovereign, Admiral and Craftsman to the Feathertouch lines in decreasing size and exclusiveness. The first three of these were Lifetimes, the last two not. All of them were available in lever-filled and vacuum-filled models.

This pen is a black Craftsman vacuum-filled pen, with price code 350, a full length slender pen. The plunger mechanism was fully restored, so this pen fills almost completely and holds a sizeable fill. Like all of the Vac-fill pens, its barrel is quite clear, so the ink can be seen inside. This pen is very clean, with very few scratches; there is some use wear, but that is to be expected. The nib is a proper 3, and writes a smooth, wet fine/medium line.

Price: $75