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
The full-size jade Lifetime from Sheaffer was their top-of-line pen in 1928, early in the celluloid era and just before the advent of the Balance. The Lifetimes were very substantial pens; this one is full-size, at 5 13/64” long, almost half an inch across just below the cap. Celluloid manufacture having not yet been mastered in 1928, most Jades show a combination of discoloration and disintegration in the celluloid. This pen has no evidence of disintegration but there is some color difference in the visible portion of the barrel and the cap, believed to be due to the long proximity to its latex sac. The white dot is prominent in the crown and the imprint is entirely clear. There is almost no evidence of use in the celluloid; no deep scratches, nicks, or the frequently seen embedded ink stains. The gold trim on this lever-filling pen is in good condition, although there is some plating loss on the clip ball and the cap ring. The nib is the full-size Lifetime gold nib, and it writes a predictably firm fine. Jades make great writers and very impressive presents. Give this pen a case to protect its finish!
This pen is not for sale.