Sheaffer 46

1926-28
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

In my experience, the 46 pens I’ve come across have all been highly restorable, very solid pens. They were among the final pre-Balance pens, from 1926-8. This pen is typical: a ringtop in excellent condition, 4½” long with full girth, in virtually unmarked and shiny black Radite. The lever, single cap ring, and ring are shiny and free of tarnish. The nib? Well, it’s both a strength and a weakness, because it is a Feathertouch 5 from the late 1930s, not the original nib. However, Feathertouches are my favorite Sheaffer nibs, not stiff like their predecessors, but expressive writers. This one writes a full fine with a bit of softness, nice and wet. You won’t often see a 46 in this condition, but you’ll want it for an everyday pen so please treat it to a case.

This pen is not for sale.