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
Although the Balance name was fast disappearing from Sheaffer’s branding by the early 1940s, it was still used to describe their pens’ shape. As a result, this pen is a Feathertouch Defender — Feathertouch for next to top-level and the Feathertouch nib, and Defender for the mid-range Feathertouch series with the wartime clip designed to meet military standards. It is a “One-Stroke Vacuum” filler, a plunger-filled pen, in Golden Brown, with excellent transparency along the barrel so the user can monitor how much ink is left. This pen is full size, 5 5/32” long capped, a little shorter than the typical full-sized Balance because of the wartime clip/crown. Its girth is 15/32” across, so it feels very substantial in the hand. It is in very nice condition, showing some use wear but no scratches or nicks of note. The plunger filler works well, filling approximately 40% on first plunge. The gold trim is in excellent condition, with no tarnish or missing plate. I would not recommend using red ink in this pen, to avoid staining the barrel. The nib, as expected, is a Feathertouch 5, my favorite Sheaffer nib, and it writes a firm fine. A very nice example of a wartime pen.
This pen is not for sale.