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 non-Lifetime, and numerous models at different times. The Lifetime designation was carried over from before the Balance's appearance, and was kept to designate higher level pens. They carried Lifetime nibs and a white dot to signify the pen as a Lifetime; in addition, they came with the Lifetime guarantee, which continued for many years until the courts struck it down. 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. Balances were also designated with numerous sub-model names after the mid-1930s, and the use of Balance was ended altogether after WWII, with the obsolescence of lever-filled pens.
About This Pen
This is a typical smaller Balance — short and slender, in Grey Pearl, 1936-41, 500 price code. It’s in unmarked condition, except for some completely predictable corrosion in the nickel trim on clip and lever. There is an almost unstained view window, a favorite feature of these Balances. The cap ring is professionally initialed, and there is no corrosion there, leading one to suspect it was a jeweler’s workmanship and made of better metal. The nib is a delightful fast writer, full fine, not completely firm, has a bit of shading in the line, and is wet enough. This is a perfect “carry” pen to keep in a case: note that its cap threads don’t hold securely so don’t trust it to a shirt or jacket pocket.