Sheaffer Balance


About This Model

Sheaffer Balances 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 ringtop Balance is from 1930, and a 5-30 model, the “5” for the nib size and the “30” for the length of Sheaffer’s guarantee in years. This was their middle line, between Lifetime, which carried a “lifetime” guarantee, and the 3-25 line. 5-30 was generally the predecessor line to Balances, but in Balances first two years (perhaps more), it was also part of Balances, both in shape and name. This pen is in one of the two first patterns available in Radite, Sheaffer’s proprietary celluloid, black and pearl (the other was black), and it is a ladies’ size, shorter, at 4 ¼” long capped, and close to full girth, at .4” just below the cap lip. The ringtop is original and in excellent condition. The nib, no surprise here, is the Sheaffer 5-30, and like every one I’ve used, it’s a firm fine. For once, I’ll admit that this is a pen that needs to be posted to be held in a larger hand, but it’s not uncomfortable unposted in a smaller hand. Click the title to see more details.

Price: $49 Sold

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