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 little Balance is probably a Milady, in the late 1930s Sheaffer nomenclature. It is a “short, slender” Balance, 4.8″ long capped and a bit over .4″ across just below the cap edge. Thus, its imprinted “500” price code. As Sheaffer evolved its Balance line in the late 1930s the dimensions changed slightly from the previous line, so they are a touch larger than the usual 500s of earlier years. All of that said, it is a very nice Balance, wonderfully balanced for a smaller pen, either posted or not posted (I usually don’t recommend posting, but unless you have a small hand it will probably be necessary.) Its Golden Brown celluloid is very clean and almost unmarked. The late 1930’s clip is smooth and bright, as is the lever. The amber view window is clear. The imprint is complete, although the 500 price code is almost worn away. The nib is a Feathertouch 5, appropriate for this pen and year, and it writes a very nice, very fast, firm extra fine. This is the perfect pen for marginalia and small notes; it is very precise.
Price: $60 Sold