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

I know I’m a fan of the large Lifetimes, but it’s well deserved. This is a black celluloid (“Jet Radite”) 1927-28 8C, the largest catalogued size, but not the longest oversize, from the first years of celluloid use. It measures 5.3” long with.55” girth just below the cap edge. Yes, it’s a big pen, but it’s not unwieldy except in a small hand. It is very clean and shiny: shows a bit of discoloration in the hard rubber gripping section and a smallish fissure in the fit of the pen’s White Dot crown. The gold trim is clean, the clip is tight. The imprint is complete and easily read. The large Lifetime nib writes a fast, wet fine; it is firm but not too firm. A classy pen ready for daily use, give it a case so it looks as nice in a few years on its centennial birth year!

Price: $125 Sold

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