Sheaffer Lifetime


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 Lifetimes were Sheaffer’s top line model in the late 1920s, just before the Balances appeared. They were made in Jade and Jet Black Radite, Sheaffer’s branded first celluloid, and came in short and oversize lengths and thin and wide girths. This pen is the short version of the oversize 85C. Although 4.5″ long, it is a full .5″ wide just below the cap edge and features Lifetime white dots in both the cap and the center of the barrel base, as well as solid 14K trim in the clip and 1/4″ wide cap band. “DK Robinson” is engraved in Sheaffer’s distinctive autograph style in the cap band. the pen is without scratches or significant marks, is very shiny and clean, with full imprint. The nib is what Sheaffer made in those days: it’s a large Lifetime, firm as can be, and it writes a fast XF/F line. Why is this pen being sold as a Bargain? It has two noticeable flaws: there is what it is believed to be a stable crack in the cap edge that extends to the base of the cap ring but not further; and the clip is a bit loose. Repairing both of these is certainly possible, but since the work would have been considerable, and neither of these issues affects the pen’s functioning or appearance, it was left as is. Nevertheless, it is an elegant, handsome 95 year old pen that can be carried and used with pleasure.

Price: $75 Sold

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